We all know that sleep is important. Because if we’re not well-rested, our attention span, reflexes, immunity, and bodies suffer. When we lack sleep, we don’t allow our bodies to restore itself to health after our long, tiring days with our packed schedules. So the health benefits of napping during the day should come as no surprise.
A regular and healthy sleep cycle allows for better learning and memory since sleep allows our brains to function optimally, and allows us to have better emotional regulation. This means that holistically, our emotional and cognitive abilities improve just because we sleep.
What Are the Health Benefits of Napping During the Day?
Knowing all this, it may seem like a no-brainer that we should just go ahead and take naps whenever we want. However, the scientific community has mixed emotions when it comes to napping. In this article, we will discuss what science has to say about napping, the different kinds of naps, the benefits of taking naps, and how or why you should be taking naps.
Do the Health Benefits of Napping During the day apply to everyone?
There are studies that exhibit a correlation between napping and certain kinds of diseases. Some common findings are with physical or lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes or with mental illnesses like depression.
However, it’s important to consider that these correlations only go as far as showing that people who have these diseases tend to take a lot of naps. Correlation does not necessarily imply causality in this case.
This makes sense considering not sleeping well at night is one of the main reasons people take a lot of naps and this is something that people with unhealthy lifestyles or struggle with their mental state do.
One of the issues that the science community has brought up with napping is that daytime sleep could interfere with nighttime sleep which makes for what could be an unhealthy sleeping cycle.
In response to this, scientists have come up with napping as adaptive behavior.
It’s possible that your body puts itself into an unconventional sleep cycle or demands excessive sleep as a way of coping with your stressors. Hence, naps help our body tell us that we require certain levels of rest to heal better.
In general, the issue is that naps don’t give enough time in deep sleep as actually sleeping and this may disrupt the average person’s sleep cycle.
This means that napping isn’t really as restorative as enough time spent asleep at night. It’s important to take these findings with a grain of salt because sleep cycles are unique for each person. The way that individuals move through the different sleep cycles can dictate whether or not they are nappers.
Be it for senior citizens, kids, or young adults at the age of 21, health benefits of napping are present in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The Holistic Health Benefits of Naps
Naps bring a lot of benefits on many different levels and help in holistic recovery and lifestyle.
A study conducted by NASA showed that military pilots and astronauts perform better after a 40-minute nap on metrics of performance and alertness. Test subjects showed a 34% improvement in performance and 100% improvement in alertness.
This proves that naps can increase the quality of performance and a person’s attentiveness right after a nap but the improvement in alertness can actually extend to even hours after waking up.
There are psychological benefits to napping as well since it separates you from your stressors and is an easily accessible way of getting some rest and relaxation.
Different Kinds of Naps
There are different kinds of naps and depending on your lifestyle and needs, you can choose and decide on your sleep and nap pattern.
The first kind is habitual napping or having a set time out of each day for naps. These naps, taking a permanent place in your sleep cycle, help keep even out your energy at a high level throughout the day.
Taking 2-hour naps every day can help people work around unusual work hours or really hectic schedules. This is also prescribed for people with narcolepsy and is even a part of the culture in the Mediterranean and Hispanic countries as “siesta”.
The second kind is emergency napping or naps that we can’t help but take out of exhaustion. Besides obvious recharging benefits of napping for students, there is more to emergency napping that could benefit everyone.
Napping, if kept under 30 minutes, can bring power nap benefits such as heightened alertness. Emergency naps could also work as a reward system to make your productivity levels sustainable.
The third kind is planned or preparatory napping and this is basically a form of preempting emergency napping. Planned naps are taken before you get sleepy to be able to kind of trick your body into thinking you’re well rested since you allow yourself to rest before you feel tired. This helps not only people who can’t spend much time asleep but also with jetlag.
In general, there are many different benefits to napping and even more possible ways of incorporating napping into your lifestyle. As long as naps are taken in moderation and your sleep cycle is one that works for you, you can have these benefits and more.
Learn more about healthy sleep, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.