For those who haven’t gotten enough sleep at night, a nap can often be the perfect solution. Want proof? Check out a few of the health benefits of naps:
Recharge and Recover
Naps boost alertness and improve motor performance, which is why you feel energized after taking one. The length of your nap determines the benefits. A 20-minute snooze—called a stage two nap—is ideal to enhance motor skills and attention, while an hour to 90 minutes of napping brings Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which helps make new connections in the brain and can aid in solving creative problems. Set an alarm to make sure you get just the right amount of sleep. (Napping for a length of time between 20 and 90 minutes may also help, but you’re likely to feel groggy afterwards.)
Regular, short naps can help lower tension, which decreases your risk of heart disease. Get the most health benefits out of your nap by doing it right. Stick to a regular napping schedule during optimal hours, which are between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. This timeframe is optimal since that’s usually after lunchtime when your blood sugar and energy starts to dip. Keep shut-eye short, and nap in a dark room so that you’ll fall asleep faster.
Boost Your Mood
As anyone who has suffered from a sleepless night knows, it’s hard to be chipper the next day. Sneaking in a nap can help erase that sleep-deprived irritability.
Keep in mind, a short snooze is a wiser choice than sipping espresso if you need a mid-day reboot, since consuming caffeine in the afternoon or evening can negatively affect your nighttime slumber. Napping is a natural way to revive your energy.