Have you ever wondered why the Spanish have their famous siesta? The shops in the whole country close in the afternoon when everyone goes home to take a short nap. They come back to work after a couple of hours rested and happy. Despite the popular believe here in the States, a nap is neither a luxury nor a sign of laziness. On the contrary, napping is a healthy habit that helps you recharge the batteries and keeps you in good health. So if you fancy a short afternoon sleep, you should not feel guilty at all!
We are the most alert in the morning and as the day goes by, the focus and concentration start to decrease. This has nothing to do with the night sleep. It happens even if you have slept very well during the night. It is just a normal signal our body sends that it needs just a bit of refreshing rest. Only about 15 minutes are enough to make a huge difference.
And hear this – the biggest and most successful companies know this fact. The giants Google and Apple allow their employees to take a short nap during the working hours in order to be more productive.
The Advantages of an Afternoon Nap
The University of Colorado has published a study which has shown that kids who don’t tend to take afternoon naps were less interested and more anxious than kids who do nap. Also, kids who missed afternoon naps had more difficulties in solving problems. This also counts for the adults. The study conducted at the Berkley University has shown that adults who take naps on a daily basis had better memory and stronger concentration. This is due to the fact that during napping the short-term memory in the brain is cleared, which makes space for new information and prepares the brain for new challenges.
How Long Should a Nap Be?
It takes only 10 minutes for the brain to refresh and recharge. A refreshing nap should last between 10-20 minutes. If you are worried that you will feel groggy afterwards, don’t be. Naps are not the same as deep night sleeps, so you will be up and about in no time. However, if your naps last more than 20 minutes, your brain might enter the deep sleep mode and you will find it difficult to wake up.
Longer naps that last between an hour and 90 minutes are recommended for people who don’t sleep enough during the night. These are a great addition to a night sleep and will boost the memory and productiveness.
This is why you should make naps a habit. You will feel much more energetic and relaxed. However, do not substitute regular night sleeping patterns for daily naps. Naps should be an addition to a quality night sleep.