Napping used to be looked upon with scorn by school teachers who catch their students doing them in the middle of their classes. Office bosses frown on their employees who practice them as being unproductive and making bad use of office time.
These days, a shift in the perspective comes after new discoveries on the nature of napping have been brought to the open. The findings seem to point out that the body requires sleep only as much as the brain needs it.
However, the brain was found to have a need for rest once in a while to refresh itself and “run like new” again after a nap. A 20-minute nap can produce new ideas with the fresh new energy gained.
These days, they are called power naps. The added adjective is found to be appropriate after research had discovered that napping can bring back a person’s power and alertness plus some of the other benefits and advantages.
Reduced stress and increased productivity
Research had shown that the hormones for stress are lower after a nap. Taking a nap, maybe after some poor night sleep, can give back a person’s alertness level and can increase his productivity.
Scientists had shown that a 30-minute nap after approximately eight hours of being awake can increase one’s stamina better than sleeping another 20 minutes upon waking in the morning.
The body’s motor dexterity will be renewed after feeling groggy for about ten minutes. After that, the feeling of being well-rested and ready for action comes back.
Anyone can do a power nap and it can enhance one’s capacity in learning some tasks. That was proven when college students were asked to look for subtle changes in four test sessions done on the same day.
The participants were able to improve in the first session. Then, their speed as well as their accuracy went on a plateau in the second session. The abilities of those that did not do naps declined throughout the final two sessions.
The performances of those that took a 20-minute power naps did not decline. The 1-hour power nappers performed faster and were more accurate in the last 2 sessions. The conclusion is that the brain may have protected their circuits until the neurons were able to consolidate what they have learned during the procedures.
In a study of 23,000+ individuals in Greece who had no history of coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer when they first volunteered, it was discovered that those who took a 30-minute nap at least 3 times a week had a lower 37% risk of death that are related to the heart.
It is now known that in countries where naps or “siestas” are common, people tend to have lower levels in heart-related diseases.
Cognitive and creative functions
NASA researchers showed that a 30-minute power nap increased their cognitive function by about 40%. (Those that took the same test without rest scored lower in IQ tests.)
In comparison to those who napped after lunch, the memory abilities of these workers (who continued working) had decreased. Power napping may just be the next big thing in workplaces in the future.