Napping: what are the benefits and is it actually good for you?

Whether you are taking a siesta in Spain, a power nap in England or a wujito in China, many people need time recharge their batteries at some point in the day.

Some cultures build this into the structure of their day but in others you may have to steal a few moments for a quick kip when you can.

Sleep is heavily debated across the world, with many varying opinions on what is most beneficial for you.
TEMPUR have taken a look into the most common types of nap to see whether there is any proven benefit to taking time out for an afternoon snooze…

The history of napping

Taking a short sleep during the day dates back thousands of years, originating in Spain with siestas to help people avoid the hottest part of the day. This tradition has spread around the world, most commonly in places with hot climates to allow people to recharge before going back out into the heat.
This passed into many other countries such as Bengal, Japan or China who sleep after afternoon meals to utilise the energy from the food.
These breaks were originally seen as a necessity to remain energised and alert but now are viewed much more as a slightly extravagant way to combat that sluggish feeling which may slow you down during the day.

The benefits of napping

It’s becoming more common for work places to provide a nap space for their employees as the benefits are becoming more obvious.

Alertness can be extended for a few hours just by taking a short nap, while people who nap regularly are said to have better physical health levels with lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease.

The negatives of napping

Naps can occasionally have some negative effects, especially if they are taken too close to your normal sleep time, as they will throw your routine off. This has been linked to developing sleep conditions.

There are also some health problems such as diabetes and depression linked to napping as they are impacted by the amount of sleep you get during the night.

How long should you nap for?

– 10-20 seconds

It is still yet to be seen if a nano nap is able to provide an effective enough boost of energy. Dropping off quickly or unexpectedly and waking immediately after is probably not providing enough time to produce an effective nap.
– 2-5 mins

Surprisingly, a short micro nap is quite effective. It provides a quick burst of energy which can fight off the sluggish feeling making you feel immediately more awake.

– 5-20 minutes

The mini nap can increase all forms of alertness and stamina which will benefit your motor learning and performance. This amount of sleep is perfect if you are trying to recharge for a short amount of time or to complete a task.

– 20 minutes

Often, this is the perfect amount of time for a nap. It is said to be just right for restoring energy levels, alertness and motor function. It is enough time to improve muscle memory, something which usually occurs during sleep to rid the brain of unnecessary information and store long term memories.

– 50-90 minutes

Napping for this long would allow your body to reach a full REM cycle providing the benefits of the sleep you achieve during the night. Your body would improve perceptual processes and be flooded with hormones to help muscle and bone development.

Of course, while napping may work well for some people, it’s no replacement for a good night’s sleep on a TEMPUR mattress!

Do you take regular naps? Let us know what works best for you in the comments below…

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