Does Napping Make You Smarter?

Does Napping Make You Smarter?

Does Napping Make You Smarter?

Nappers have long touted the benefits of regular resting hours, much to non-napper’s dismay. There seems to be two lines of thought: Naps are necessary and refreshing, or, they leave you feeling groggy and confused and should be avoided altogether.

It’s no secret that a solid eight hours of shut-eye leaves you feeling refreshed, but if you aren’t getting enough sleep, slipping in a nap wherever possible may also do the trick. If you consider yourself a “napper”, the only thing getting you through a long day may be a small, 30-minute power nap.

No matter your stance, it’s important to understand naps and how they affect your brain and body. Whether you love them or hate them, just 20 minutes of napping may benefit your overall health and mood…but can napping actually make you smarter?

The Research Points To Knowledge

While napping improves mood and behavior, studies have also found that napping also improves performance when it comes to certain tasks, like addition, logical reasoning, reaction time, and symbol recognition.1

Sleep is an essential part of brain function. It helps you store information you’ve gathered throughout the day and process it. Studies have found that sleeping after learning helps you retain the information longer, however, new studies have also found that sleeping before learning may help your long-term memory as well—and all you need is at least 90 minutes.2

Napping before taking on a new task that requires focus gives your brain a clean slate when it comes to storing and retaining information.3 Your ability to focus lessens throughout the day, so next time you feel your eyes drooping after a big lunch, a nap may not be the worst thing to consider before an afternoon full of meetings.

The Science Behind Smart Napping

Of course, there’s more to it than just “sleep and you’ll wake up smarter”. Many factors come into play when studying how a nap affects brain function, and may explain why some are so anti-napping.

A 20 or 30-minute nap appears to be the sweet spot if you’re napping for the sake of it, as opposed to if you’re napping to work a night shift or just being sleep deprived. Shorter naps tend to boost your mood and cognitive performance, whereas longer naps (like those lasting up to an hour or longer) cause you to fall into a deeper sleep, which explains the grogginess when it’s time to wake up.4

Happy Napping: Get The Most Out Of Your Naps

Overall, the research shows that brain function improves after a short siesta. While it may be impossible to nap every day for at least half an hour, indulging in a nap here or there wouldn’t hurt. (Especially if it means boosting your mood.)

While nothing can beat a solid eight hours of sleep, waking up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the next task can’t be beat, either—so here’s to plenty of happy napping!

For a list of  incredibly effective ways to get a better night sleep, click here.... 

 

Sources:

 

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-napping-make-us-smarter1/
  2. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/nap-make-smarter/
  3. https://www.livescience.com/13125-sleep-naps-boost-memory.html
  4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2008.00718.x

 

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