New Research Suggests a Nap May Significantly Boost Your Health!

Unlock the power of napping for lower blood pressure, improved well-being and boosted productivity.

Mar 20, 2020

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If you’ve ever felt unsure about taking a short nap during a workday, and that includes all of us currently working from home, you’ll be thrilled to know that listening to the rest demands of our bodies has many potential health benefits. These are advantages that new research seeks to share. It is not just that delish lunch you had that makes you feel sleepy; the afternoon rest is a perfectly healthy and natural habit.

It seems that napping is a behavior wired into the circadian rhythm of human beings that’s programed to switch into rest and digest mode. Our circadian rhythm is our 24-hour body clock, a daily light-dark cycle that governs and regulates rhythmic changes in our behavior and physiology. So, according to scientists, disruptions of these biological rhythms can impair our health and well-being. Can there be a better reason to indulge our bodies and minds with a comforting nap?

Even if we are tempted to duck that call, and replace it with a strong cup of coffee, the truth must be told: caffeine is a short-term solution and it is not a substitute for sleep, it just masks our sleep drive.

The above-mentioned  new research was presented at the American College of Cardiology's 68th Annual Scientific Session. It found that people who take a midday snooze are more likely to have a pronounced drop in blood pressure compared with those who don't nap. What does this mean? That napping does more than raise our energy level and improve our mood. It can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks by up to ten percent.

Manolis Kallistratos, MD cardiologist at the Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece, and one of the study’s co-authors said that “Midday sleep appears to lower blood pressure levels at the same magnitude as other lifestyle changes. For example, salt and alcohol reduction can bring blood pressure levels down by 3 to 5 mm Hg”. This is welcome news if we consider that a low-dose of antihypertensive medication usually lowers blood pressure levels by 5 to 7 mm Hg, on average.

Kallistratos goes on to spell out the apparent advantages: “Based on our findings, if someone has the luxury to take a nap during the day, it may also have benefits for high blood pressure. Napping can be easily adopted and typically doesn’t cost anything.”

Years ago NASA studies demonstrated that napping can also improve reaction time by 16 percent and concentration by 34 percent which translates to better productivity levels.

In the same way, a recent study with schoolchildren in China indicated that napping can be significantly associated with greater happiness, grit, and self-control, reduced behavioral problems, higher verbal IQs, and better academic achievement. 

As a result, napping on the job, which was once grounds for losing a job, is now being actively encouraged in many offices. In fact, leading companies and universities are installing napping pods so employees and students can rest and recover energy during the day. The thought behind this trend is that naps actually increase productivity rather than limit it. 

And what would be the ideal amount of time? Researchers suggest that twenty minutes is enough to wake up feeling recharged but not foggy. Still, it’s all about experimenting and finding what’s best for each of us. After all, we are all different and unique!

Now that you know it: naps can be a simple but powerful strategy to be healthy, feel better, and improve our productivity. So, if you were looking for a reason for taking a nap, now you definitely have more than one!

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DAIANA BROJT, CONTRIBUTOR
With a love for fashion, technology, self-development, nature and communication, Daiana is a freelance writer. She is the creator of an online community platform dedicated to providing inspiration and information on trends, developments and positive impact initiatives in the world of Sustainable Fashion.