Napping – How It May Improve Your Cognitive And Motor Function

Napping – How It May Improve Your Cognitive And Motor Function

Nap breaks and time may not have been appreciated by the majority of the people in their childhood but making time to take a break and rest in bed for a short period of time is more of a blessing for most of the adults nowadays.

Although there is a lot of pressure to focus more on work and various other productive tasks, taking a nap can actually help a person in a variety of ways including enabling the person to perform better in work or school.

In accordance with the latest studies on taking naps, small periods of time spent resting can provide an energy boost to the body. Hence, whatever task a person chooses to do after a nap will be done with more concentration and dedication.

Should you take naps?

In the fast-paced world today, meeting someone who gets the recommended six-eight hours of sleep daily is very surprising. People from almost all age groups have an increased workload, specifically the young adults.

In the process of completing their work from school or office, many people consider themselves fortunate to get even four or five hours of sleep.

Lack of sleep can have a number of different effects on the body, the most visible one being laziness, mood swings, headaches, irritability and inability to concentrate. Not getting enough sleep can ruin both the work performance and the health of a person.

This is one of the reasons why naps have been losing their notoriety and bad image. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, any person who is unable to get a proper sleep at night should try napping during the daytime.

Sleeping during the day can actually make up for the missed sleep at night. It can be a great solution to not being able to fall asleep at night either due to workload, stress or other factors that can influence the quality of sleep.

Read about the benefits of napping for healthy adults here.

Napping - How It May Improve Your Cognitive And Motor Function
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Why is getting enough sleep so important?

As mentioned before, lack of a good night’s sleep can have almost immediate effects the next day which can instantly ruin anyone’s performance at work or school. In addition to these, there can even be serious effects of missing bedtime hours.

Sleep is essential as not getting the required amount of it has been linked with health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, hormonal imbalance, early onset of aging, anxiety, and obesity.

For some people, the solution to not being able to sleep properly is loading up on energy drinks and caffeine, both of which are harmful to health. Sugary energy drinks are not beneficial in any way to the body and can instead be a source of empty calories.

On the other hand, caffeine has a number of health benefits and can provide with an extra boost in the morning or whenever a kind of a ‘push’ is needed. However, too much of anything is not good and caffeine intake should also be controlled.

The most effective way left to tackle trouble sleeping is in fact, napping during the day. Power naps are nothing new and have been practiced by many professional health bloggers, yoga and meditation instructors, celebrities, and even some of the well-known presidents.

The most recent research on power naps has specifically looked at the benefits in addition to the instant energy boost of napping which includes improvement in motor function, keeping high levels of stress away, and better cognition.

This means that a person who is constantly fighting chronic stress can be able to control his/her stress levels through napping and relaxing. Secondly, napping can also balance other hormones along with cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.

How long should a nap be?

Most of the people assume that two-three hours of free time is required in order to have a proper nap in the afternoon or at any other time. This is not really true for everyone.

According to the School of Psychology and Flinders University, even 7-10 minutes can significantly improve physical and mental performance. Different lengths of naps are observed to bring distinctive effects and advantages.

Taking shorter naps that no longer than fifteen minutes can have almost instant effects and can help before some difficult task. The effects such as instant energy from such naps are temporary and can last up to three hours.

The longer naps, on the contrast, which are at least thirty or forty minutes long, improve motor and cognition function for a much longer time. Long naps can come in handy for lengthy tasks that require a lot of concentration.

Why do you feel tired after a nap?

This is a question commonly raised by people. A person who takes a long nap for about thirty minutes or more often complains about feeling more tired after waking up. Why does this happen? This can be explained by sleep inertia.

The exhausted feeling after a long time is temporary and does not last after some time because of sleep inertia which is a psychological condition faced due to slow motor function after waking up suddenly. It can come with irritability and grogginess but it does not last for a long time.

The duration of a nap depends on the person and his/her plans of the day. If there is only a need for a boost for better performance, the ten-minute nap is better suited and recommended.

For the people who miss hours at night and need a lasting energy to perform multiple tasks, though not immediately after a nap, should try going for longer naps.

Keep in mind that napping sometimes is not the same as napping regularly. The people who nap on a daily basis adjust better and have added benefits which are not seen in people who nap every other day.

Napping - How It May Improve Your Cognitive And Motor Function
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With an academic background in Food Sciences, Klaire is interested to read about the latest news on nutrition, therapeutic benefits of foods and health. She is a practicing dietician with a focus on improving women’s health. Before joining the team, she has worked as a researcher and freelance writer.

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