If you watched The Bachelor this season you may be very well aware that some pretty important people, like Abraham Lincoln and Michael Jordan, take naps. While Corinne may have just been defending her own (sometimes controversial) napping practices, she did have a point. Napping has been scientifically proven to be extremely beneficial for your overall health. Specifically, napping has some pretty powerful mental health benefits.
The Science Of Sleep
The key differences between a nap and regular sleep are the cycles our bodies go through. During a regular full sleep cycle, your brain goes through several stages, Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma sleep waves. Basically, during a full cycle you would go from light sleep, to deep sleep, to REM sleep, and then to wakefulness. On the other hand, when you nap for less than 30 minutes your body only goes through the light sleep stage. During this time your brain functions differently than when you are in a full deep sleep or REM sleep cycle. The key is to ensure you only go through the light sleep stage, if you enter deeper sleep and then wake up more fatigued. Ideally, you want to nap between 15 and 30 minutes to gain the full benefits. This number will vary from person to person.
The Benefits Of Napping
A 2008 study showed that those who took a midday nap had higher brain activity throughout the day than those who did not. Napping can make you more productive, focused, and energized! It can even improve your decision making skill and boost your mood! Napping has been proven to boost a person's overall mood by reversing the negative hormonal impacts of a bad night's sleep. In fact, some studies have even shown napping to improve a person's mood by up to 40%. So, if you miss a good night of sleep it is definitely worth it to spend 20 minutes napping. Even if you slept well the previous night, napping has also been proven to help reduce stress. So your challenge today? Take a 20 minute nap!