Many scientists recognized and valued the benefits of quick daytime naps. As modern society and sleep deprivation affect the overall condition of people naps can possibly alleviate the so-called sleep deficits, boosting the brain and improving decision-making skills. Additionally, it enhances perceptual learning, verbal memory, statistical learning, and object learning.
Napping was also found useful for improving reaction time, helping with math and logical reasoning, improving mood, and treating fatigue. Many people who suffer from heart disease, stress, irregular blood pressure and want to manage their weight can start to practice napping regularly.
The National Sleep Foundation recognizes three different ways of napping:
1) Planned napping (preparatory napping)
This way of napping involves taking it before actually getting sleepy. Usually, this technique is used to prevent tiredness and fatigue. Some people nap, also when they know that is going to bed later than the normal bedtime
2) Emergency napping
It is practiced when one suddenly feels very tired and cannot go on with the activity he was engaged. This type of nap often helps to treat lethargic driving or fatigue, especially when someone is using heavy and dangerous machinery.
3) Habitual napping
This type of napping is some kind of routine, practiced when a person takes a nap at the same time each day. Adults take a short nap every day after lunch, while young children usually fall asleep at about the same time every afternoon.
The study conducted in Greece found that adult men who took an afternoon nap at least three times weekly were 37% less likely to die from a heart-related disease, which is not the case with those who never take a short afternoon nap.
Many countries have a custom taking a nap (siesta) after lunch and they are characterized with a lower rate of fatal heart attacks. On the other hand, in the U.S. and the UK, afternoon naps are not advocated. However, the statistics show that heart attacks are the leading cause of death in both countries.
Napping has amazing health and psychological benefits, and a short nap can be a pleasant luxury, time that will relax the mind and body and boost rejuvenation.
NASA conducted a groundbreaking study in 1995, which evaluated the effects of napping on 747 pilots. The part of the pilots was allowed to take a 40-minute nap every day, which improved their vigilance performances from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses compared to the group of people that didn’t rest.
According to another study from 2008, the naps are better than caffeine in improving verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning.
Scientists recommend taking even a very short nap and benefit from it, but the length of a nap determines the benefits experienced, as follows:
20 Minute Nap
Benefits: – Enhancing memory, mental alertness, and motor learning skills.
20 To 30 Minute Nap
Benefits: Boosts creativity and memory.
30 To 60 Minute Nap
Benefits: Enhances memory and decision-making skills
60 To 90 Minute Nap
Benefits: Ensures REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
This type of nap is the most beneficial, helping to reset the brain, and has a dramatic effect on problem-solving skills.
In conclusion, all who practice napping during the day can benefit from it, however, it is not recommended for someone who suffers from sleep disorders, because it might interfere with the ability to fall asleep at night.