If you’ve made the shift to working from home, your daily routine has undoubtedly shifted as well. Some of us are waking up later, eating more frequently and finding the separation between work hours and play hours less defined. But the smartest among us have discovered the marvel that is the mid-afternoon nap.
No, it’s not just for fussy toddlers. Napping has all sorts of physical and mental health benefits, which is why many places in the world have built napping into their culture. In Spain, as well as in many other Latin countries, the daily siesta – a break from work and school around midday – allows people to reset after their morning duties and feel re-charged when they return to work later in the day.
So let’s take a look at some of the upsides to lying down.
It Can Improve Your Memory
Studies have long suggested that sleep plays a vital role in storing memories, which is why teachers often suggest a good night’s sleep after an evening of studying for the big test. But a full eight hours aren’t required to cement memories. In fact, a brief nap can be just as helpful in allowing you to remember things learned earlier in the day. Napping also prevents you from forgetting things like motor skills, sense perception and verbal recall.
Improved and More Consistent Job Performance
Your job performance is likely to peak earlier in the day, and become more sloppy as the hours pass. That’s because your brain becomes tired as the day wages on, making it harder to do mental tasks. Taking a nap, however, can help reset your brain, putting you back on track to tackle those big hurdles, even into the wee hours.
It Can Boost Your Mood and Alertness
Experts agree that napping, or even lying down without falling asleep, can brighten your disposition. If you’re feeling cranky in the mid-afternoon or if you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, consider resting for a half hour before returning to work.
Most people also feel a little tired sometime after lunch, as the body goes about digesting food. Taking even a 20-minute nap can help you regain energy and make you more alert.
All in moderation
Given all the positives from short naps, taking a long a nap can result in what’s called sleep inertia, which states that the longer you sleep, the longer it will take for that groggy feeling to wear off. So if you’re testing out a nap in the afternoon, be sure to set your alarm for 20-30 minutes.