Almost everyone associates naps with young children. But studies have shown that naps can be great for people of all ages, especially older adults. A short afternoon nap helps enhance memory, improve alertness, lift your mood, and ease stress.
In fact, new research claims that daytime naps may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The study revolved around the Chinese, who have the lowest incidence of cardiovascular diseases worldwide, with naps being an integral feature of their culture.
So if you think the daytime snooze is for the lazy ones, find out some of the benefits of taking a short nap during the day.
Pros of Naps
Nap Improves Alertness
Do you feel sleepy right after lunch? The struggle is real. Most people feel sleepy right after lunch and find it difficult to concentrate. With a 20-minute post-lunch nap, you can fight your heavy eyelids.
Research has confirmed that daytime sleep plays an important role when it comes to improving memory. A short daytime nap can help you store all the new information that you acquired earlier during the day.
Enhance Cognitive Abilities
Not only can naps improve your memory, but it also enhances your cognitive abilities. People who take a short nap have better problem-solving skills compared to those who don’t nap. And the claim is backed by research.
Lift Your Mood
Are you feeling down today? Try taking a short nap. Naps bring benefits to your physical and mental health and help you have a brighter outlook for the rest of the day. As you lie down in the middle of the day, your body relaxes, and that is reflected in a better mood as you wake up after a short nap.
During a busy day at work or home, it is only natural to feel stressed. With a short nap, you can release stress and improve your overall health.
Great for Cardiac Health
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the biggest health concerns for people around the world. But do you know that a nap can help improve your cardiac health? Since it lowers stress, boosts immunity, and enhances problem-solving skills, a short nap combined with an active lifestyle is great for your heart.
Ever wake up from your sleep with that “Aha!” moment? Thanks to your REM sleep that activates parts of your brain associated with creativity. So a nap that enters the REM stage of your sleep cycle may boost creativity.
Is Napping Good for You?
While napping is associated with so many physical and mental health benefits, it is not always good. Some of the cons of a daytime nap may include the following:
If you take a too-long nap (45-60 minutes or more), you might wake up feeling more tired than before. This is because you enter the deep sleep stage of your sleep cycle but cannot complete it. As a result, you wake up more tired and disoriented. And if you take longer naps, it takes a much longer time to get back into the work mode.
Naps Can Interfere with Nighttime Sleep
Naps can interfere with your ability to fall asleep at nighttime. If you take a long nap during the day or take a nap during the later hours of the day, it might be difficult for you to fall asleep. Also, if you have sleep disorders, including insomnia, daytime naps can affect your ability to fall and stay asleep during the night.
How to Make Naps Work for You?
It is not unusual for seniors and the elderly to feel tired during the day, but considering the cons of naps, is it a good idea to take a daytime snooze?
The answer is yes!
However, the key is to make sure that you work around your naps such that they are shorter (20-30 minutes) and should be somewhere around the middle of the first and second half of your day. So if your day starts at 6 a.m., make sure your nap before 2 p.m.
A short nap will improve alertness, boost creativity and problem-solving skills, improve memory, and bring benefits to your cardiac health without interfering with your nighttime sleep or leaving you disoriented for the rest of the day.