Monday Oct 13 2008
It's Thanksgiving in Canada, and I've just enjoyed a full weekend of personal and work commitments. But the highlight of the weekend was a chance to reconnect with the power of the 'nap'.
Research in the past few years has found that the human body requires as much sleep as the brain will allow it and that the brain needs a rest every now and then. So taking that mid-afternoon 20-minute snooze really can give one a burst of ideas and energy. And, since I've been caffeine-free for several months now, a nap really helps me make it to the end of the day without running out of gas.
For any non-nappers out there, consider these top 10 benefits of napping:
- Lowered stress hormone levels
- Increased alertness and productivity
- Improved memory and ability to learn new things
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Increased cognitive functioning (only with 15 to 35-minute 'power naps')
- Motivation to exercise (by being rested and having sufficient energy reserves)
- Enhanced creativity (by allowing the brain to create the loose associations necessary for new insights and ideas)
- Balanced metabolism (insufficient sleep can affect hormone production and interfere with our ability to process carbohydrates)
- Additional alertness when one has to be up late or all night (with a prophylactic nap of two to four hours)
- Better health with benefits to heart functioning, hormonal maintenance and cell repair