There is a problem that many of us face and it is one that can cause problems if you are not careful. We tend to lead such a busy life that we push ourselves from the time we wake up in the morning until the time we go to bed at night. On most days, we may never stop running but sometimes, we try to grab a catnap when possible.
I thought that I was one of the only people who really love napping but it seems as if it is a worldwide obsession. In fact, there are parts of the world where they even shut down stores during a certain time of the day so people take an afternoon nap. Animals also love naps and I’m sure that you have seen this in action if you have a dog or cat in your home.
Since I love naps, I was quite happy when I found out what naps were doing for my body. Not only do they make you feel fantastic, they can have a positive effect on both your emotional and your physical health. Here are some of the benefits of napping.
1. Cognitive function – when you don’t get enough sleep at night, you tend to be lacking during the next day. Napping affects our abilities to learn and assimilate information. Taking a long nap of up to 90 minutes can boost your mental performance for 24 hours.
2. Heart health – Harvard did a study that showed people who nap on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from heart problems later in life. Lacking sleep can certainly be a problem for your heart, but napping helps to fill the hole.
3. Stress – most of us recognize the fact that we are more stressed when we are tired and that makes you even more tired. Napping is a great solution when you feel a lot of stress.
A study in 2012 showed that stress hormones were spiking when naps were skipped.
4. Cravings – if you are low on energy and tired, we often reach for the easiest source of sugar available. When you nap, it can remove your desire to snack and your energy stores are much better.
5. Performance – napping may be considered the opposite of working by some but not according to certain studies. When an athlete takes naps, they perform better.
How to Nap like a Pro
1. Set a timer – you can take a nap for anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. Experiment with different times and set a timer so you don’t oversleep.
2. Nap in the afternoon – you can nap at anytime of the day but the best time seems to be in the afternoon. A quick nap after lunch or a light snack is best.
3. Conditions – keep your napping area and dim. Don’t make things too dark or you could fall asleep deeply. Cover with a light blanket to stay comfortable.
4. Accessorize – having the proper accessories for your nap can help you to sleep better. You can have a timer and drink a cup of coffee before you take a nap. The caffeine tends to kick in by the time you are finished napping. A mask can help if things are too bright.
Some people find that holding a coin or a pencil between their fingers helps with napping because they wake when the item drops.
5. Get more sleep – you don’t have the option to skip sleep altogether. It’s a very important part of staying healthy. Naps may be nice but make sure you are getting enough sleep at night.
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