I have written a few Posts on the importance of getting good quality sleep but what about an afternoon nap? Admittedly I am within the age of needing it on occasions…but what about the science behind it?
Many European countries think that a short nap after lunch is essential and you would have found that many businesses close down to accommodate this practice if you have been in those countries. Then again a lot of Western countries would consider the practice a form of laziness.
As to the science, they say that it improves learning ability as well as memory and also helps sharpen awareness. Studies have shown the positive sides of children taking a short afternoon nap when they compared the results with children who don’t. It was found that the children who didn’t nap showed not a lot of interest, happiness and were more anxious than those who did. They also showed lower problem solving skills than the children whose caregivers had this practice.
The reason for these results is because the afternoon nap reboots the brain as well as refreshes the mind and increases energy and alertness for the afternoon. So in adults this would increase productivity?
So how much is enough? It accurately only needs to be 10 – 20 minutes without the groggy feeling afterwards. If the nap is 30 minutes, you may get a corresponding 30 minutes of grogginess afterwards. An hour would give you an hour of grogginess afterwards…but the naps would give you a memory boost. 90 minutes is recommended for those people who don’t get enough good quality sleep because it constitutes one circadian (sleep/wake) cycle . If the reason for not doing it that you haven’t got the time comes to mind think on the fact that you are at your most productive for only the first 90 minutes of your working day….then it goes down dramatically from there (and a good reason not to have those morning team meetings as well?)
Having a short afternoon nap improves your emotional memory and creativity….well, that is the excuse I give…but is a fact!
In many societies over the years sleeping more than once a day was and is a natural part of their existence and it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that this habit changed in the industrial nations simply because of pragmatic reasons. Napping from the scientific point of view is a necessity for improving health and productivity, not a luxury…