Woman napping on arm
Science Says, Short Naps are the Best Naps

Has this happened to you? You’ve awakened from a nap and felt more tired than you did before nodding off. This is why I’ve shunned naps for the last 45 years – they haven’t left me feeling refreshed and recharged. I decided long ago that I was better off just powering through the day. But as it turns out, I wasn’t doing it correctly.

According to a recent study, taking 20 minute naps has numerous health benefits. But doing so for any longer than 30 minutes causes your body to enter a different sleep stage from which it is more difficult to rouse. And it is for this reason that one is more tired after taking longer naps.

But a quick snooze to reset your body can work wonders. After listening to a podcast on Scientific American, I’m willing to give naps another try, especially with this list of positive results:

1. Improved memory – This is especially true with short term recall in the time immediately after the nap.

2. Better processing of information – We all like to feel sharp. A nap can yield heightened alertness and cognitive function.

Woman at desk with cup of tea

3. Shorter reaction times – This has to do with how fast your body can respond to a situation. When well rested, we can react most quickly.

4. Improves mood – It’s true. Tired people are grumpy people. When well rested, we’re likely to be happier.

5. Potential to improve creativity – Stress and exhaustion can kill the creative process. After giving our brains a rest, we’re more likely to be imaginative and innovative.

6. Potential to improve problem solving – When we are alert, we are better able to define the problem, identifying the cause, and devise a solution.

Woman at whiteboard doing work

A culture of midday rest is prevalent in many regions throughout the world – think: siesta in Spain, riposo in Italy, inemuri in Japan, wǔshuì in China, and úti in Iceland, among others. In recent years, intra-day resets have begun to gain traction in the U.S., with certain companies, after evaluating productivity gains in light of new research that has surfaced, even providing nap rooms to their employees. If you’re able to fit in a short nap into your daily routine, you might find it well worth your while.

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