Life Coach Magazine

5 Benefits of a Good Power Nap

By Djridings @fivethingsnow

In a culture that worships productivity, self-improvement, and health we tend to focus on all the things we can actively do to promote these traits in our lives. We look to self-help books, exercise equipment, and a litany of drug stimulants to help give us a competitive edge and push us to our maximum capacities.

But in obsessing over what we can do to increase performance, we often overlook a major factor: doing nothing at all. Sleep has been proven time and again to be one of the principal factors in determining someone’s health and performance efficiency. And while sufficient sleep at night is important, when life gets in the way of the required 8 or 9 hours per night we can look to naps to recharge our batteries.

Here are five ways a quick power nap can help you out

1.   Memory and Learning

Many of those plagued most severely by sleeplessness are students. Long hours trying to focus on monotonous, droning voices by day mixed with long nights trying to focus on how to get home because you drank one too many White Russians and forgot the name of your street is a deadly combination for cognitive performance.

Ironically, memory and information absorption (what students do all day) stands to benefit most from a power nap. A recent study by scientists in Germany found a 25% improvement in memory exam results for subjects that took a 40-minute nap halfway through the study.

 2.   Weight Management (leptin and grehlin levels)

Most people don’t make the connection between sleep deprivation and weight gain, but lead scientists stress its significance. James Maas, a professor of social psychology at Cornell University who coined the term “power nap” explained in a 2006 interview that sleep deprivation results in the chemical imbalance of leptin and grehlin, two compounds that manage your appetite. “Those are the ying and yang of hunger,” says Maas. “That’s why we have this onset of Type II early-onset diabetes in kids because they’ve gotten fat because they’re not sleeping.”

 3.   Stress Reduction

Stress results from a series of chemical reactions in the brain brought on by external stimuli. Often, frustrating or frightening experiences bring on stress, but it is quite common that the stress you feel is an overreaction caused by decreased brain functioning. Sleep and periodic naps are primary factors in regulating stress, as studies have shown. Next time you are stressed, have a power nap!

4.   Healthy Heart

Another health benefit of naps that may not be intuitive: an improved heart condition. This is related to stress control, since stress produces strain on the heart and other organs. A 2007 study conducted by Harvard researchers found that of 24,000 volunteer subjects, nappers were 40% less likely to die of heart disease.

 5.   Endurance

Some people don’t want to consider the idea of a nap because they think of it as a waste of time. However when you look at the larger picture this isn’t at all the case. Naps result in greater endurance, which, in the long run, will improve your efficiency and help you make the most of your waking hours. A study by the National Institute of Health concluded that “burnout” is a result of lack of sleep—a way of your brain telling you it has reached its capacity for information intake. In the study, a 30-minute or 1 hour nap increased levels of cognitive performance in the latter stages of a series of arduous tests.

Sleep is a crucial aspect of our lives that we mustn’t overlook. If you’re having trouble sleeping either at night or at power nap time, you should reexamine your diet, try to get more exercise, or buy mattress upgrades for optimal comfort.

Marianne Ross is a freelance blogger on various topics related to health and wellness. 

5 Benefits of a Good Power Nap

5 Benefits of a Good Power Nap

Please comment if you have any tips on how to have the best power nap!

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