Napping makes you more alert
Napping sometimes gets a bad rap, as if shut-eye during the day indicates laziness. But some of the brightest minds in history, including Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, were famously nappers. And now, a new body of scientific research is showing the benefits of napping, and how a quick bout of sleep can regenerate body and mind. When you start falling into that mid-day slump, “a short nap interferes with ‘sleep drive,’ that sometimes irresistible feeling that you need to go to sleep, which will wreck concentration and alertness,” says Carl Bazil, MD, director of the Division of Sleep and Epilepsy at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. By taking the edge off with a nap, you feel restored, and more alert and attentive. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a NASA study on military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34 percent and alertness by a whopping 100 percent. Here are 11 tips for taking a nap that truly energizes you.
Napping helps you remember stuff
Along with this boost in mental function from napping comes an increased ability to retain learned information. “Napping strengthens the neural connections that form our memories,” says Elizabeth McDevitt, a researcher at the Sleep and Cognition Lab at University of California, Riverside, where she works with famed napping expert Sara Mednick, MD, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life. “During sleep, brain areas that were involved in initially acquiring a memory might be reactivated, essentially ‘replaying’ neural activity during sleep.” By doing this, memories are reinforced and moved into long-term storage areas of the brain. One German study found that subjects were five times better able to recall random word pairs they had learned if they took a nap.