Benefits of Naps: The Why, When, and How of Napping

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Sleep Deprived Much?

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Have you ever had those days where you are so sleep deprived that you can't think straight?  I sure have!  But do you ever consider taking a nap in lieu of trying to "get things done"?  Yeah, me neither...  Society has made us believe that taking naps is a bad thing -- like you're being lazy if you're not continuously on the go all the time.  What we need to realize, though, is that if we don't get a good night's sleep (and well, who doesn't every now and then?), then instead of staying awake to "get more done" and "be more productive", our cognitive capabilities are never going to be at 100% and we should seriously consider taking a nap.  I'm writing this with only having had a few hours of sleep the past couple nights (out of my hands).  So this article is a good reminder for me, too, of the benefits of naps.  Thinking of taking a nap as soon as I get this drafted (though before I started probably would have been a better idea!)

8 Benefits of Naps

Mark Sisson has a wonderful section in his Definitive Guide to Napping all about the different benefits of naps.  The following is a snippet of the points he made - all of which are evidence-based:

  1. Napping has been shown to help stave off jet lag.
  2. A 20-minute nap can improve “subjective sleepiness, performance level, and self-confidence.”
  3. A quick nap can be enough to overcome the negative effects of sleep deprivation on learning and memory.
  4. A study in Greek adults found that an afternoon nap was associated with improved heart health and reduced cardiovascular events.
  5. A mere 26 minute nap can boost performance by 34%.
  6. An afternoon nap improves post lunch “cognitive flexibility,” or the ability to multi-task.
  7. Napping reduces stress, particularly the stress caused by sleep restriction.
  8. Napping restores immune function impaired by sleep restriction.
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"Soo if I want regain some cognitive thinking by taking a nap, how should I go about it?"

Good question!  There are so many different types of naps - each with their own unique benefits.  Of course, how much time you have (and how tired your body is) will definitely play a large role in the type of nap you can and should take.  Besides making sure you're in a dark, chilled, quiet place (or maybe with some white noise in the background), I'm going to refer you back over to Mark Sisson's article The Definitive Guide to Sleeping where he explains 7 different types of napping and the pros of each.  I encourage you to check it out!

Napping isn't just for the lazy.

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Yes, there are definitely people who just nap because they are bored or lazy.  But, there are some very famous thinkers who were said to take regular naps, too.  That means it must be a good idea, right??  Here are only a few of the famous thinkers who used napping as a way to regain their cognitive stamina:

  •  Thomas Edison
  • Albert Einstein
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Winston Churchill
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

Conclusion.

If you feel like you need a nap, then take one.  Seriously...!  Help your body recharge and get some zzz's.  Do yourself and your body a favor and just sleep already.  Also, don't let anyone tell you you're just being lazy - only you know what's good for your body and only you can judge how much sleep you need.

Will you give a gift to your body and take a nap today??