Sleeping is essential for our good overall health. It lowers stress, improves your memory and focus, but also helps improve your heart function, as well as hormonal balance. Sleeping for about eight hours a night is probably optimal, and if you don’t sleep enough, you’ll end up feeling tired, anxious and lack concentration. This is where naps and their benefits come in.
How Naps Affect Your Brain and Why You Should Have One Every Day
An immune system boost
Since sleep deprivation, especially if it’s chronic, can take its toll on your immune function. Among other things, it increases the stress hormone count, including cortisol, as well as certain inflammatory molecules, which affect your immune system, and not in a good way. If you take a nap or two during the day, for at least 20 minutes at a time, you’ll feel better, and your body will more likely be restored to normal. This way you can restore your immune function to its original state and control the damage done by your lack of sleep.
If you’re wondering if being sleepy can leave you cranky and irritable, just visit one of your friends who have toddlers and see how the little ankle-biters will behave if they skip their regular nap. Sleeping insufficiently can cause an imbalance in your neuroendocrine system, which can lead to you feeling tired and grumpy. Again, restoring your neuroendocrine system balance is something a nap can help you with. However, your nap should be about 20 minutes long, since 30-minute naps can make you even groggier than you were in the first place.
As mentioned above, when you’re sleepy, your cortisol levels rise, which causes stress. Taking a nap can help you relieve this stress by lowering the cortisol levels, which consequently decreases your anxiety and discomfort. You just need to make sure your nap is a quality one. You can achieve this by making sure you don’t drink too much coffee before your nap, and by choosing a good place for it. If it’s possible, take a nap in your bedroom. In there the noise should be minimal, you should be able to darken it to fall asleep easier, and your bed should be a comfortable one, which is all easy to accomplish since it’s never been easier to find affordable custom-made bedroom furniture online. Having something delivered to your front door a day after you ordered it, without you even having to go anywhere is another way to keep stress at bay.
Naps can help improve your mental function, including your memory. Having a nap increases your ability to keep any new information in your mind more easily since it enhances the neural connections in your mind that help us recollect things. Our minds replay our memories when we sleep, which strengthens their position in our brain and turns them into long-term ones. So, if you’re tired and you can feel your thoughts slipping from your mind, having a nap might help you.
When you’re at work and have a problem with staying alert and keeping up with your tasks, a nap could do you a lot of good. And not just any nap. Daytime napping can help improve your alertness and your performance, but the effects depend on the length of the nap. Power naps are the perfect solution to the problem of impaired alertness. A 10- or a 20-minute nap would be the ideal measure. A 30-minute nap is also effective, but you’ll need a while after you wake up to feel those effects since those half-hour naps can cause some serious grogginess.
Better cardiovascular health
People who don’t sleep enough are at a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even stroke. Also, the stress your sleep deprivation causes only adds to those risks. On the other hand, when you sleep, and this includes napping, the volume of blood your heart pumps is reduced, which benefits your whole cardiovascular system. Although naps cannot compensate for a restful night’s sleep, they can help your body to slow down a bit and recover from the stress of the day.
If you’re ever in a situation where you feel worn out, confused and unable to concentrate on anything, consider taking a nap. It may restore your energy and make everything seem better and easier once you wake up.
Cooper Klein is a cool dad in touch with his feminine side. He’s currently working from home as a blogger for several online magazines. You can find him on Twitter.
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