Europeans strongly believe in the benefits of having regular nap time, so it has become a normal thing that most European cities shut down in the afternoon for their power naps. Unlike Americans who consider napping a luxury and pure laziness, almost everyone in Europe takes a quick nap to recharge and go to work again.
If you are one of the people who (occasionally) enjoy taking naps, you should not feel guilty about it. In fact, studies have shown that an afternoon short nap not only makes you feel rested and re-energized, but also improves your mood, memory, physical performance, and your learning ability.
Most innovative companies, like Apple and Google, have implemented napping as a regular thing in the working environment since it is known that well-rested people make the best employees and improves their performance.
One study from the University of Colorado Boulder found that children who didn’t nap in the afternoon had increased anxiety level, poor problem-solving skills, and were not showing much interest and joy compared to other children who took regular power naps. This is true for adults as well.
Moreover, researchers from Berkeley discovered that adults who routinely take naps have improved memory and learning skills.
Therefore, the question arises: What makes napping so important? It is mainly because it reboots the brain as it clears out the short-term memory which leaves the brain refreshed with a new storage space.
How long should one nap?
According to specialists, a “power nap” of 10 to 20 minutes is enough for refreshing the mind and boosting alertness and energy. This timing is optimal for normal functioning because you are not in a deep sleep and you will be able to continue with your day immediately after waking up.
However, if you nap for 30 minutes or longer you will face a 30 minutes period of grogginess because your mind enters in a deep sleep during that period. Moreover, you will experience the same groggy period if you nap for an hour, but on the other hand, this 60 minutes nap will boost your memory.
Taking longer naps of 90 minutes is recommended for those who didn’t get much sleep at night. This makes up for the loss of sleep because it is a whole sleep cycle and, also, improves creativity and emotional memory.
All in all, naps are considered a crucial factor for your emotional and physical well-being. However, be careful! They should be an addition, not a replacement for a good night sleep.