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The Unknown Benefits of a Nap

The clichés linking naps to small children and the elderly, have been difficult to get rid of. Especially in the last few years where the myth further insisted that snoozing in the middle of the day was synonymous with being lazy. However today, it’s a scientifically proven fact: an afternoon nap is beneficial for our health and particularly for our intellectual abilities.

In a recent study, researchers at NASA showed that a thirty to forty-minute power nap increased cognitive faculties by approximately 40%! Tests carried out on one thousand volunteers proved that those who continued working without rest, made lower scores in intelligence tests like the IQ test. More importantly, their capacities to work and memorize decreased in comparison to those who napped after lunch.

In concordance with NASA’s work, biology students at Berkeley determined that the nap must be short in order to produce maximum effectiveness. Over forty five minutes, the beneficial effects of napping disappear and it is therefore suggested to take a fifteen to thirty five minute “power nap”. This is the time necessary for the organism to rest and enables brain neurons to recuperate. Airline pilots know this only too well: a twenty minute nap considerably reduces the risks of falling asleep at the controls in mid-flight. Catching a few ZZs helps fight drowziness following an intense period of concentration. If sleep specialists recommend a time slot between 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., in fact the best time to nap depends on the time you wake up. Depending on what line of work each individual has, a worker on a graveyard shift for example, should count 7 hours after the alarm clock goes off. Convinced of the positive effects of napping, some companies have established strict guidelines on this practice and are encouraging their employees to take naps. The significant results obtained included an enormous decrease in absenteeism, tardiness, and work-related stress.

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