4 reasons you should take a nap
Naps can charge your brain's batteries
A NASA-funded study on astronauts found that naps up to two and a half hours long improved working memory performance. Working memory involves focusing attention on one task while holding other tasks in memory, so a poor working memory could result in errors, according to a NASA news release.
Taking a nap may make you more alert for the period right after you wake up and maybe hours into the day. A short snooze may also make you feel more relaxed.
You'll have lower risk for heart problems
Taking a nap once or twice a week could lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes, according to a 2019 study published in the journal Heart.
After tracking more than 3,400 people between the ages of 35 and 75 for slightly more than five years, the researchers found that those who indulged in occasional napping -- once or twice a week, for five minutes to an hour -- were 48% less likely than those who didn't nap to experience a heart attack, stroke or heart failure.
It might even help you get into shape
A 2020 study focusing on women found the more sleep-deprived the women were, the more likely they were to consume added sugar, fatty foods and caffeine.
A lack of quality sleep could lead to overeating because inadequate sleep is believed to stimulate hunger and suppress hormone signals that communicate fullness. The findings were important because women are at high risk for obesity and sleep disorders, the researchers said, which can both be driven by a high intake of food.
Napping has been found to improve the overall quality of even nighttime sleep.
And boost your creativity
The right side of your brain might experience a mental spark during a nap, research has suggested. The right side is the hemisphere most associated with creative tasks, such as visualization and thinking, while the left is more analytic.
Researchers monitoring the brain activity of 15 people found that the right side of their brain communicated busily with itself as well as with its left counterpart. The left side of the brain, however, remained relatively quiet. In a January 2020 study of 2,214 Chinese adults ages 60 and older, participants who took afternoon naps for five minutes to two hours showed better mental agility than those who didn't nap.