Power naps are more than just an afternoon siesta. Experts say that napping for at least 20 minutes can do wonders for the body and the brain. During a short nap, your cells are repaired and regenerated, your blood pressure decreases, and your brain function improves.
Need more reasons why you should take a nap? Here’s how catching some zzz’s can boost your brain power:
Power naps increase alertness
Power naps improve memory and concentration
Power naps boost productivity
Power naps improve your mood
Power naps boost the immune system
In 1995, NASA supported a sleep study wherein around 700 of their pilots were given a chance to have a 40-minute nap on-duty. After the nap, the pilots exhibited more alert behavior, essentially helping them to perform better in their jobs.
Being mentally alert is an important trait when it comes to everyday life, whether it’s at work, at home or while driving. When you take a power nap, your brain gets a mental boost and you wake up feeling refreshed, alert, and ready to take on the rest of your day.
A study conducted in Germany used illustrated cards to test their subjects’ memory strength and learning process. They found that the group who napped were able to memorize more cards while those stayed awake had poorer memory performance.
Despite the short amount of time given for a power nap, one’s memory and concentration after a nap improve tenfold. This cognitive benefit increases brain function which helps the brain retain more information and perform tasks better. Concentration also improves after taking a nap since you automatically become more awake and alert.
When you’re feeling tired or sluggish, it can make you unmotivated to finish your tasks. You end up procrastinating or accomplishing your task at a slow pace.
Power naps can help boost your performance because it instantly refreshes your mind and your body. You’ll be more motivated and eager to learn, with a better mood and a more alert mind.
The amount of sleep that you have correlates with your current mood. Lack of sleep leaves you feeling irritated, stressed, angry or mentally exhausted. It can also affect your mental health and worsen any anxiety symptoms.
Power naps have been proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Once you have a good nap, it immediately puts you in a better and calmer mood.
Sleep deprivation brings down your immune system and makes you more prone to sickness and infections. In another sleep study, researchers found that interleukin-6, an immune protein, decreased among those who did not sleep.
Researchers have also found an important link between the immune system and the brain. That’s why having a healthy immune system helps maintain your brain’s health and function. During a power nap, your body releases a growth hormone that boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure, and reduces stress.
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