Have you ever been hit with that mid day slump? You know the one, when you can barely keep your eyes open and all you want to do is curl on up on the couch and take a quick little nap? Well guess what! Research has found that naps are beneficial to not only your work productivity but also your psychological and psychological well being. Want to make an argument to your family or boss as to why you need a nap in the middle of the day? You’re not alone! Actually a few companies like Google, Ben & Jerrys, and Zappos have dedicated nap spaces so that their workers can grab a few z’s at work.
In honor of national napping day, let’s break down the benefits of napping as well as how to best take a healthy nap!
Physical Benefits of Napping
There really are many physical benefits of napping. Some of the most basic are things like slowing your heart rate down. If you have a fast paced job, being able to slow down for a bit gives your body and your heart a time to rest. This can also help calm you and can lower some anxiety that you may be feeling. This is an added psychological benefit! Another physical benefit of napping is increase alertness. NASA completed a study on tired military pilots and astronauts and found that a quick power nap (40 minutes) increased performance by 34% and increased alertness by 100%! That’s a big deal if you are flying a plane or a spaceship!
Psychological Benefits of Napping
We’ve already mentioned the possibility of lowering anxiety if you are able to calm your body down and take a nap, but that’s just one of the many psychological benefits of napping. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who had taken a nap were less impulsive and had higher tolerance for frustration than those who watched an hour long documentary. A similar study also found that people who were able to take a nap had better reasoning skills and emotional regulation. Pretty amazing that a quick snooze can give you such an impact!
Types of naps:
Believe it or not, there are multiple types of naps. The benefits of napping may be different based on the type of nap you take.
The Planned Nap
The first type is “planned napping.” This means that you nap before you get tired. You may want to take this type of nap if you know you will have to stay up really late one night. This can be especially beneficial if taken with enough time to get into REM sleep. Meaning the nap would need to be closer to an hour or 90 minutes.
The Emergency Nap
The second type is “emergency napping”. This is essentially if you are too tired to continue with what you are doing. The benefit of napping in this scenario is that if you are too tired to continue, taking a nap should rejuvenate you. This allows you to continue with the task at hand. This is especially recommended for people driving for a long period of time. Instead of trying to power through sleepiness, pull over and take a power emergency nap!
The Habitual Nap
The third type is “habitual napping”. Habitual napping is taking a nap around the same time every day or most days. This has actually been found in some studies to be the most helpful for increasing alertness and learning ability. Especially if that nap was a quick nap, between 10-30 minutes.
So now you know all about napping! It is one of many things you can do during the day to re-energize or reset your mental state. Coping skills are another way you can do so, check out our blog post on coping here. Go get a power nap in and enjoy national napping day!
Are you a napper? What are some benefits you get from napping?