There are few things I love more than a good swim, bike, and run, but one of them is napping.
As a self-proclaimed “nap queen” and a connoisseur of all things snooze-related, I’m here to tell you that there are more benefits to napping than just being capable of staying awake later than 8 o’clock at night.
Whether you want to be more alert, lose weight, or lower stress levels, there’s a nap for you.
Don’t take my word for it. Science totally backs me up here. Check out these five surprising benefits of an afternoon nap.
Boost Your Problem Solving Skills
Are you muddling over something where the solution seems impossible to find? A power nap might be the answer.
According to researchers, a 20-minute snooze session can boost your alertness, while a 60 to 90-minute doze puts you into REM sleep where your brain makes new connections and boosts your problem-solving skills.
While dozing at your desk may be frowned upon, in the right work environment it could yield big productivity results.
Getting your snooze on regularly can help to keep your stress and tension levels at bay. This is especially helpful in managing your risk of serious, chronic conditions like heart disease.
To get the biggest bang for your buck, try to work a regular nap into your daily schedule. Hitting the hay in the early to mid-afternoon, right after lunchtime, is a good way to refresh your mind and body while your blood sugar regulates.
Naps are not only a great way to boost your mind, but they give your body an extra oomph too. Scheduling a little shut-eye around a time you typically get the munchies can help you reset and recharge without giving in to your cravings.
What’s more, getting an adequate amount of sleep daily is a crucial step to successfully losing and maintaining your weight, and a nap can help you hit those totals.
Get Rid of Your Crankypants
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood, sleep, and appetite. It’s also like a happy pill, and when you have enough of it, you’ll feel content and happy. While stress can make it difficult for our bodies to produce it, a nap is like hitting the reset button.
A quick, 20-minutes of shut-eye can reverse feelings of anxiety, irritation, and depression by bathing your brain in serotonin and basically making it all better.
People who don’t get enough sleep - like 100% of the U.S. population for example - are at risk of developing chronic diseases. This is, in part, because of the increased cortisol in our bodies. A stress hormone, cortisol is what regulates our fight and flight responses, but having too much of it can weaken our immune systems. Over time, this puts us at risk of developing conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Before it gets that far, take a nap for a totally free, organic, and all-natural solution. When you sleep, your body produces and releases growth hormone which combats the adverse effects of having too much cortisol. Not only will it make you feel better, but it will also give your body the good juju it needs to heal and repair itself.
Naps for the win!
Written by Siren Luminary Nicole Kurz
Follow Nicole on Instagram! @nicolemkurz