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Are Naps Good for You? The Sleepy Science Behind Napping Explained

Are Naps Good for You? The Sleepy Science Behind Napping Explained

If you’ve ever found yourself curled up in your day bed and in need of an emergency nap, then it may be a relief to hear that you’re not alone. Even better, you may be on the right track in terms of your health.

As yes, the truth is out, and naps are a great way to increase productivity.

I know, I know you’re probably pretty confused at this point since your desktop naps are normally frowned upon. Thankfully, I’ve done my research and by the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to confront your boss with a few dedicated nap time proposals.

 

What Exactly is a Nap?

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You may be sat, naively assuming that a nap is just a short snooze but no. There are actually three types of naps.

1.Planned Napping
Also called preparatory napping, planned napping is actually a great way of dealing with fatigue. If you’re preparing for a particularly long day for example you know you’ll have to work late to reach your deadlines, then planned napping can help ward off unproductive exhaustion.

2.Emergency Napping
Emergency napping is probably something we’re all pretty familiar with. It occurs when you’re just so exhausted that you can’t go on. When this occurs, an unplanned emergency nap is the best way to combat burnout.

Fun Fact: Sharks actually rest half of their brain at one time, so technically they’re always napping.

3.Habitual Napping
The type of napping we wish we all had integrated in our daily lives, I’m sure.

Habitual napping is when a person takes a nap at the same time each day, and is commonly used by babies and small children.

 

Why Naps Aren’t a Sign of Laziness

Okay, so here’s the justification you’ll need for demanding designated nap times during work hours.

The body needs between 6-8 hours of sleep in order to feel fully restored, but with so many adults juggling work, families and social activities it’s become increasingly difficult for them to consistently achieve this level of rest.

According to the Royal Society for Health, almost a third of all adults are under-rested by at least an hour. This has led to a rise in cases of depression and illnesses such as high blood pressure, which have been linked back to a lack of sleep.

Foregoing sleep for the pressures of modern day life also reduces the brain’s ability to retain information by up to a whopping 40%. Short term memory is particularly susceptible to fatigue, a condition which only worsens with age.

However, taking naps acts as a restorative device that can increase productivity and alertness, particularly after lunch when the body suffers from a natural slump.

Fun Fact: The Romans napped for 2-3 hours after lunch, and they dominated civilisation for a thousand years. So, try telling your boss that if all else fails.

 

Plan for the Perfect Power Nap

Have you ever taken a cheeky nap and found yourself awaking groggier than ever before? Well as it turns out, naps can’t just be taken willy nilly. No, it’s an art.

Many an expert has tried to crack the code of the perfect power nap, with a 2006 study hypothesising that a nap should be less than 30 minutes in order to promote wakefulness and enhanced performance.

However, NASA went one step further and found that their astronauts performed at their best following a 26-minute nap. Not only were the astronauts less fatigued, but their performance enhanced by 34% and overall alertness by 54%. So that answers the question, how long is a nap?

But…

That ‘but’ is in bold for a reason, as this guide to napping comes with a dire warning.

While experts may differ on the blueprint for the perfect nap, they are unanimous in their belief that naps should not replace a good old night-time snooze.

Sleeping during the day can disturb the brain’s biorhythms, as the brain is used to resting at a roughly similar time each evening.

Repeatedly foregoing a good night’s sleep in favour of a daytime nap can lead to memory loss, lack of alertness and the inability to concentrate on daily tasks.

So, while napping to make up the hour or two lost during the nocturnal hours may be beneficial, power naps should never be used in place of a consistent sleep cycle

So there you have it. Every bed is a luxury bed when your nap is justified, so no more kip related guilt for you!

We hope this is enough to convince both you and your boss that naps are the root of all productivity and concentration.

Struggling to Stay Awake?

If you are struggling to keep your eyes out for the full 12 hours, then maybe you need more than just a nap.

Have you taken a good look at your sleeping environment lately?

An old, worn mattress can make do more harm than good, and if you're not getting the rest you need at night, it may explain why you rely so heavily on a sneaky snooze.

While you're here, why not take a quick look at our mattress options, and who knows? Maybe you don't need those naps after all.

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