Happy National Napping Day! Yes, that really is a thing, and there's a lot to be said for making nap time an important part of your day.
1. Tick, tick, tick
You've heard of the 'body clock'...well we're all set to something called the Circadian Rhythm, which is basically our natural sleep/wake cycle. So we are pre-programmed to feel a dip in our day, generally in the afternoon, so napping is actually what we're meant to do, and by not answering the ticking clocks within us we are going against our biological rhythm. So get napping people!
2. Evolution says so
As the day progresses, our learning ability, reflexes and focus degenerates. Napping can counterbalance these effects, providing additional brain juice, (like oranges at half time), to get us through the remainder of the day. A short 15 to 20 minute power nap is all you need to get the extra fuel.
Every day at 5pm Winston Churchill would drink a weak whiskey and soda before taking a two-hour nap.
Churchill said this short siesta allowed him to get 1 1/2 days' worth of work done every 24 hours.
3. All the benefits of caffeine without the addiction
It's a proven fact that the overall benefits of naps are similar to those experienced after drinking caffeine, but without the side effects of caffeine dependence and, in some cases, disrupted sleep at night time.
4. It can lower your blood pressure
Researchers found that university students who napped for at least 45 minutes a day had lower than average blood pressure after some kind of psychological stress than those who didn’t have a cheeky little lay-down. A study in the UK suggests that the mere anticipation of an incoming nap is enough to lower blood pressure.
5. Napping makes you thinner
Sounds like a totally over-inflated claim doesn't it, but one of the reasons we gain weight is because of stress and exhaustion. Stress activates our 'fight or flight' hormone cortisol and cortisol has a nasty habit of making you crave junk food. Taking a mini nap around 3pm will help keep junk food cravings at bay and reduce the stress hormones that cause your body to hold on to weight.
6. Sleeping on the job
Some forward-thinking companies (Google and Apple included) are actively encouraging employees to take naps at work. As we know from what I've said above, power naps improve mental efficiency and productivity which, I'm sure you'd agree, is money well-spent for such a big payoff in company morale and production.
7. A nap a day keeps the doctor away
There are a gazillion studies that link napping with some tip top health effects.
A study of Greek adults found that napping at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more was associated with a 37% lower risk of death from heart disease. Other benefits of napping include reduced stress and a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and excessive weight gain. Power to the nap.
8. Naps are the brainchild of creativity
Neuroscientists at New York University found that taking a nap boosts a sophisticated type of memory that helps us see big picture ideas and be more creative. So if you work in a creative environment, you need to print off a copy of the NYU study ASAP and take it to your boss.
9. Sleep your way to beautiful
Not enough sleep leads to increased inflammatory cells in the body which create an increase in the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, the molecules that give skin its glow and translucency. So even a 20 minute nap in the afternoon can help to stop the breakdown of these super molecules and stop the premature signs of ageing on the skin.
10. Taking a few zeds with your best friend
If, like me, you don't allow your dogs upstairs to share your bed with you through the night, taking an afternoon nap with your dog is a lovely way to snuggle down for a cuddle and a few minutes of well-earned rest.
So what are you waiting for? Celebrate National Napping Day with gusto...time for a little shut eye in the wonderful Land of Nod.