A nap a day can save your life, reduce blood pressure and ward off heart attacks. A recent study by researchers at Asklepieion Voula General Hospital, Athens, has found that those who had a nap at noon later had lower blood pressure than those who stayed awake through the day.
Sir Winston once said that nature had not intended man to work from 8 am until midnight ‘without that refreshment of blessed oblivion’ in the middle of the day. Churchill said that we must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner while Margaret Thatcher didn’t want to be disturbed around 3 pm.
Should you follow in the footsteps of these two influential UK prime ministers by taking midday naps? You must. Here’s why…
1. A 6-minute nap, known as ultra-short sleep episodes, can improve declarative memory – a type of long-term memory that pertains to our ability to recall facts and knowledge.
2. A 10- to 20-minute nap can provide a quick boost of alertness while mitigating the onset of sleep inertia.
3. A 30- to 60-minute nap can have an incredibly beneficial impact your decision making skills.
4. A 90-minute nap can aid in creativity and emotional and procedural memory.
5. Planned naps can restore your attention and the quality of your work, help reduce your mistakes and improve your ability to learn on the job.
6. Naps are better than caffeine when it comes to improving verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning.
7. Naps can confer heart-related benefits by accelerating cardiovascular recovery after bouts of psychological stress.
8. A groundbreaking NASA study looked at the beneficial effects of napping on 747 pilots. Each participant was allowed to nap for 40 minutes during the day. Those who rested, demonstrated vigilance performance improvements from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses compared to those who didn’t.
9. Daytime sleep is critical for effective learning in young children. Classroom naps boosts the learning capabilities of preschool children by enhancing the memories they acquired earlier in the day.
10. Naps help infants learn the rules of abstract language and storing long-term memory.
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