Humans are among the few animals on this planet that usually only sleep at one time during a given day. Most animals follow a “polyphasic” sleep cycle, meaning they alternate between being awake and being asleep multiple times during a 24 hour day.
Unfortunately for us, the way the normal day is structured prevents us from being able to sleep multiple times throughout the day.
Still, being able to get small daily naps in can dramatically improve certain aspects of your life.
Here are 7 ways taking daily naps could benefit you!
A nap can improve your mood throughout a day
Serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness, is released in large quantities while you sleep. For this reason, taking a nap can dramatically increase the amount of available serotonin, allowing you to feel more relaxed and pleasant.
Napping has shown to increase your ability to manage incoming information
In a study, a visual test was given to participants, and a decline in performance was observed after having the participants perform for multiple rounds. If the same task was given, but participants were allowed to take a half hour nap in the middle, the performance greatly increased. A one hour nap even resulted in better performance all around in the very same visual test.
Taking daily naps can increase your alertness
Separating your day with a nap can dramatically increase alertness, as shown by a NASA studied that displayed a 100% increase in alertness for individuals who took a 40 minute nap. In some cases, studies showed how 20 minute naps could provide equal or better increases in alertness as compared to 200mg of caffeine.
Taking naps can dramatically increase creativity
As exemplified by artists like Leonardo da Vinci who took multiple naps during the day and minimized sleep during the night, creativity can dramatically increase when taking naps. This can be attributed to the sharpening of senses that may be associated with being well rested.
Memory can be sharpened when you are well rested
Working memory is involved in situations that require a lot of attention. Working memory is more efficient when you are well rested, and taking naps can even help you retain memories long term.
Taking naps during the day can help sharpen senses
Squeezing a quick nap into your day can help keep your senses of smell, taste, sight, and hearing in tip top shape. Allowing your body to nap during the day has shown to benefit sensory perception almost as much as a full night’s worth of sleep. Keeping senses sharp can make a big difference in how music sounds or how food tastes!
Taking a daily nap helps regulate physiological healthy
In many cases, people that are sleep deprived experience higher levels of cortisol hormones in their body. These hormones are associated with stress, and higher cortisol levels can even result in damage to the immune system or decreased levels of other necessary hormones in the body. Taking a nap allows your body to release growth hormones that will inactivate the coritsol, reducing the level of physiological stress your body feels.