As long as it doesn't take more than 30 minutes to an hour, a nap is good for our health in many ways. It's perfectly natural for mammals and is even part of the work culture in China. Why not take advantage of the warm, relaxing weather to have a little snooze after lunch? Here's a list of all the benefits of a short siesta.
A healthier heart
A nap is beneficial for the heart because it lowers blood pressure and allows the cardiovascular system to recover. Two hormones, adrenalin and noradrenalin, which help to keep the body awake, stimulate the heart rate. A Greek scientific study in 2007 showed that a habitual 30-minute nap (three times a week) reduced the risk of death by heart failure by over 30%. Try it out this summer to improve your sports performance.
By improving attention, memory and vigilance, a nap stimulates creativity and helps with solving difficult problems. It is virtually obligatory in Japan, and other countries are beginning to realize its benefits. Employees who rest at the beginning of the afternoon are more productive and come up with new ideas more easily. A summer nap is ideal for recharging your batteries and will pay dividends when you go back to work.
Catching up on lost sleep
Chronic insomnia, drowsiness, and sleep debt are all part of modern life. There's nothing like a power nap to catch up if you didn't get enough sleep last night. And contrary to popular belief, a nap does not prevent you from sleeping the next night (as long as it doesn't last longer than an hour). In fact it helps nocturnal sleep. It's the perfect way to stay alert and in a good mood until the evening.
A lack of sleep affects antiviral proteins produced by the immune system. And sleep deprivation is associated with lower resistance to infections. Even a short nap restores the levels of hormones and proteins which help fight stress, thereby improving our immune system. Nap to your heart's content this summer, so you'll be able to drive out colds and viruses in the fall.
A perfect non-drug treatment
The French National Institute of Sleep and Vigilance (InSV) considers sleep to be a non-drug treatment with analgesic effects. Migraines and muscular/joint pain can be improved by a short sleep. The InSV says that napping could reduce the need for medicines such as antihypertensives (a treatment for high blood pressure), stimulants and vitamins. Better to take 40 winks this summer instead of a cocktail of dietary supplements in the fall.
Article first published on AFP RelaxNews