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5 Reasons Why Naps Should Be A Mandatory Part Of Our Day

5 Reasons Why Naps Should Be A Mandatory Part Of Our Day
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Though some may claim that naps are a sign that you’re lazy, there is increasing evidence which shows that a quick power nap can actually benefit your health. Whether you’re low on energy during the day, or just feel better when you have some time to yourself, it may be beneficial to let yourself nod off every so often. While you come up with ways to convince your boss to institute nap time, here are five incredible health benefits to fitting in an afternoon snooze.

1. Short Term Energy Boost

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    While those against napping might claim naps make you more drowsy, taking a shorter nap will actually boost your energy and alertness. Next time you feel the need to grab a quick rest, doze off with confidence. Napping too long will have the opposite effect however, and make you feel groggy for hours. To avoid this, aim to sleep for about 20 to 30 minutes in order to get the jump on the rest of your day.

    2. Say Goodbye To Your Daily Hump

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      The normal ups and downs in your energy are largely controlled by chemical systems in the body. Physiological makeup and sleep habits combine to make each of our sleep cycles a little different. However, there is usually a dip in energy in the late afternoon, in addition to an increase in sleepiness towards the evening. In one study looking at naps, caffeine, and exercise, naps were the most effective way to overcome this afternoon dip in energy. 

      3. It’s Natural

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        Humans are among very few mammals to sleep in monophasic sleep cycles. Splitting our day into one period of wakefulness, then one period of sleep is different from 85% of other mammals. These animals sleep on and off throughout the day in short periods, known as polyphasic sleep cycling. It is not clear if a monophasic sleep cycle is human’s natural sleep cycle, so some researchers believe napping may be perfectly natural.

        4. Helps You Work

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          Another way naps may keep you healthy is by warding off dips in performance. Many people experience a continuing decline in ability to focus and perform throughout the day, making them less productive in the afternoon and evenings. To combat this, NASA recently did a study on their pilots. The group who were allowed to nap were 34% more alert in their post nap flights, while the group that didn’t nap struggled more. If NASA’s on board, your campaign for extended lunch breaks might not be that frivolous. More and more, research supports short naps helping you have a more effective day.

          5. Helps Your Heart

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            Cortisol is a chemical our body releases when we’re in stressful situations, but when you sleep, your body release chemicals that balance out Cortisol. Naps aren’t excluded, as a recent study found that a 30 minute nap three times a week made a person 37% less at risk of dying from heart disease. Real world, lasting health benefits are as good a reason as any to take a reprieve from your to do list every once in a while. 

            Featured photo credit: Takashi Hososhima via flickr.com

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            Alicia Prince

            A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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            Last Updated on July 21, 2021

            The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

            The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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            No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

            Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

            Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

            A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

            Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

            In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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            From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

            A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

            For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

            This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

            The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

            That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

            Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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            The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

            Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

            But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

            The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

            The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

            A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

            For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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            But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

            If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

            For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

            These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

            For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

            How to Make a Reminder Works for You

            Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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            Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

            Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

            My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

            Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

            I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

            More on Building Habits

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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            Reference

            [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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