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Research has shown that catching a few Zs during the day can benefit mental and physical health
The need for sleep is beyond debate. No wonder it’s one of TriVita’s Essentials For Health and Wellness. A good night’s sleep helps enhance heart function, hormonal maintenance and cell repair.
It also boosts memory and overall brain function. Sleep deprivation causes the opposite effect and can ultimately degrade your health.
Throughout the world (not so much North America) napping is an established daytime ritual. Millions of Chinese workers nap at their desks for an hour after lunch, and daytime napping is common in many European countries. However, the truth is very few North American workers would risk taking a nap at their desk.
Studies have actually shown that napping can benefit mental clarity, creative thinking and improve memory. Naps can even have a physical benefit. One study of over 23,000 Greek men showed that participants who napped three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who didn’t nap. Another study showed that people who napped had higher test scores on memory tests.
Sleep experts have determined that daytime naps can help:
- Improve alertness
- Boost creativity
- Reduce stress
- Improve perception, stamina, motor skills and accuracy
- Enhance mood and boost memory
How much nap-time is right for you? Ten to 15 minutes of sleep seems to be the optimum amount for improving mental performance and alertness. Longer naps tend to leave people feeling drowsy and less alert.
Here are some tips to maximize the value of your nap:
- Set an alarm for the specific amount of time you want to sleep.
- Don’t sleep for too long, or you will wake up feeling groggy.
- Choose the right time of day when your energy levels are naturally decreased.
- Experiment with different times of the day, different nap lengths and different ways of waking up.
- Establish a napping space with as little light as possible.
Don’t ignore your daytime sleepiness. A good snooze can really brighten the rest of your day.