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A daytime nap that lasts 20 to 30 minutes can be beneficial in countless ways to your body and mental state, says scientist Stephen Bender.
A short nap can improve mental functioning and memory, as well as improve alertness, attention, and reaction time.
A short nap is also associated with increased productivity and creativity. Since napping seems to improve creative thinking, some companies have tried to use this by introducing nap rooms at work. What's more, the brain appears to be using nap time to process information collected throughout the day, which appears to improve problem-solving ability dir.bg.
A small study revealed that people who nap briefly were less frustrated and impulsive, leading to better focus and efficiency in performing work tasks. Napping can even lead to an improved ability to learn new motor skills, such as swinging golf or playing a musical instrument. This is because these memories or skills consolidate in the brain during sleep, whether at night or while you nap.
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Napping can also reduce stress. One study found that naps of approximately 20 minutes improved participants' overall mood. However, longer naps lasting more than 30 minutes are usually not associated with improved mood and an increased sense of well-being.
Short naps may also be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. If we're awake more than we should, we tend to have a buildup of fight-or-flight chemicals in our bodies. However, longer naps can have the opposite effect. This can impair cognitive function from a few minutes to half an hour. In many cases, these effects can be minimized by consuming caffeine immediately after a nap.
Napping during the day is good for the brain.
Long or late afternoon naps can also interfere with a night's sleep, or by leading to difficulty falling asleep. This disruption of the regular sleep-wake cycle can lead to overall sleep deprivation, which can have numerous negative health effects. What's more, for those 60 years and older, longer naps — over 30 minutes — may increase your risk of cardiovascular problems.
The researchers found that older people who napped for more than an hour a day had a higher incidence of elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal levels of cholesterol or triglycerides, sometimes known as metabolic syndrome.