Fancy a power nap between meetings? Your boss may not be keen on the idea, but doctors are. Studies show that catching winks in intervals of 20 to 40 minutes when you’re feeling groggy, stressed or run down can improve your overall health, though other studies suggest that longer naps can help sleepy minds tackle more complicated brain tasks. Overall, whether you need rest or relaxation, the benefits of napping can help you in a pinch.
Here are four more benefits of napping to remember when you want a little impromptu shuteye.
1. Naps can make you perform better at work
Naps can improve attentiveness, enhance performance and reduce the occurrence of mistakes and accidents. “A study at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%,” according to the National Sleep Foundation.
2. The effect of naps last throughout the day
The increased alertness you experience directly after a brief stint in dreamland may linger well into your day. If you typically feel sleepy after lunch, researchers say a short nap in your car or somewhere private could help you avoid tiredness until you tuck in later for the night.
3. Napping can help you conquer narcolepsy
Scheduled napping has proven successful for some sufferers of narcolepsy, a condition marked by excessive uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. According to the Sleep Medicine Centers, up to three 20-minute naps scheduled naps throughout the day can help you avoid unexpected dozing.
And if you suffer from insomnia, an inability to fall asleep, here’s another truth bomb: Drinking a glass of tart cherry juice before tucking yourself in can help induce sleep. Research shows that it helps some insomniacs sleep deeper, says Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute. Tart cherry juice is a source of phytonutrients and melatonin, both of which can help you sleep longer and with less grogginess the morning after.
4. Naps provide some of the same psychological benefits as going on vacation
Can’t get away on vacay? The psychological benefits of naps are similar to those you experience when you go on vacation after being in an no-work-all-play mode. And they’re an easy way to sneak in that overdue relaxation.
Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and specialist in sleep issues says that small naps can work as a “mini-vacation-in-place.” Employees who nap feel more refreshed, less stressed and more loyal to their jobs, helping them achieve a better work-life balance.
Featured image by BraunS via iStock