The 3 psychological benefits of a nap

Adaptation to modern life throughout history has caused humans to lose the habit of being polyphasic regarding sleep. In fact, there seems to be some evidence that, like the rest of the animal kingdom, primitive man also alternated cycles of sleep and wakefulness throughout the day.

Numerous studies seem to indicate that taking a nap after lunch has many health and mental health benefits. So, taking a nap will have a beneficial effect on your well-being and can increase your alertness, concentration or productivity.

Psychological benefits of a nap: discovering the art of “ taking a nap ”

As we read in the article “7 Psychological Signs That You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep”, sleep is absolutely essential for good health.

As much research shows that napping can lead to improved psychological well-being, some companies like Google, Nike, AOL or the New York Times give their employees time to nap in the office with maximum comfort. The “siesta” (“nap” in English) allows you to recover energy and to be in a better mood. Companies that have adopted the “nap culture” have armchairs or even beds where they can rest for a while.

The historical origin of the siesta

For some experts in the field, the nap has its origins in the 11th century and falls under one of the rules of the monastic order of Saint-Benedict: rest and tranquility at the sixth hour (canonical), which was the period between 12 and 12 hours. Three. This rule referred to the fact that religious should fall asleep in complete silence to rest and regain energy for the rest of the day. Here was born the word “sextear” or “save the sixth”. Over time, this custom spread and was adopted in other monasteries and in the general population. Although it seems to be only a Spanish tradition, the siesta is also present in southern Europe and Latin America, China, Taiwan, the Philippines or India.

The nap also seems to have a physiological origin, as it is a natural consequence of the drop of blood after heavy meals, which causes drowsiness.

Below, we’ll find out exactly what the two beneficial effects of napping are on our mental health.

1. Improves memory

The University of Haifa (Israel) and the Dream Laboratory at Sheba Medical Center (Tel Aviv) have shown that naps bring benefits to memory. This study, in collaboration with researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Montreal (Canada), concluded that the nap has an important role in the consolidation of memory and learning.

2. Increase your ability to learn

Along with the positive effects on your memory, taking a nap also reports positive effects on learning ability. The University of California has provided evidence that by resting the mind during a nap, we help our brain learn more after waking up.

On a related note, research from Harvard University and New York University has shown that taking a short nap significantly improves memory and learning, but also has a positive effect on humor.

3. Take a nap and work better

According to studies by NASA, taking a nap improves alertness, performance, reduces errors and accidents at work. In this study, conducted on its pilots and astronauts, it was found that a 26-minute nap is able to increase performance by up to 35% and alert level by 55%.

If the “becaina” lasts 40 minutes, it improves the alert state by up to 100%. Attention and reaction time also appear to benefit from the nap, according to a study by Kimberly Cote, professor and neuropsychologist at Brock University. According to his study, people who do not take advantage of this “moment of relaxation”, they may feel more tired, have a higher likelihood of making bad decisions and have a higher risk of workplace accidents. Naps can increase the alert state in the period immediately following the nap, and this state can extend up to a few hours later in the day.

Some tips for a good nap

  • A short nap of around 20 or 30 minutes is ideal. This time is enough to benefit from better alertness and better performance without feeling dizzy.
  • To prevent the nap from affecting sleep patterns at night and to avoid complications when it comes to falling asleep at night, it is best not to take a nap too late in the day.
  • Taking care of the environment during a nap will greatly affect rest time and the ability to fall asleep. To make the most of this time, you need to find a comfortable place, with little light, no noise and a pleasant temperature.

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