Napping as an adult: What you need to know

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Judit Llordes
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Napping as an adult: What you need to know




Would you like to take a nap after lunch? Here's what you need to know about the potential effects of napping on adult health and well-being.


If you think there's nothing better than curling up on the couch for an early afternoon nap, there are a few things you need to know.

The question is, are these mini sleep sessions good for your health? The evidence may seem confusing at first. While some published research suggests that short naps can improve alertness and mood, other studies suggest links between prolonged naps and health conditions such as metabolic syndrome.

 

Are naps good for adults?

Sleeping is part of a healthy lifestyle. A beneficial nap is defined by factors such as when you sleep, how long you sleep, and why you feel tired. Here are some benefits of napping:

 

  1. Increase concentration

A 25-minute break in the middle of a long workday — or any day when focus and precision are key — can boost cognitive performance.

In a randomized controlled study of 49 emergency physicians and nurses, published in Annals of Emergency Sleep Medicine, subjects who took a 15-minute nap break performed their tasks more efficiently, made fewer errors, and reported feeling better. feeling less sleepy than those who skipped a nap.

 

  1. May maintain healthy blood pressure

Exercise, reduce salt... take a nap? A 2019 study 2 of 212 hypertensive men and women found that those who nap during the day had a potentially beneficial drop in systolic blood pressure. But please note that this was a small, short-term study. Further research is needed to validate the results before adding naps to the list of therapies established for this purpose.

 

  1. Improves memory

When the clock says 15 p.m., do you ever think about having a cup of coffee to “wake up”? A nap, however, can do even better and help your memory, according to a 2008 study of 61 adults, published in Behavioral Brain Research.

Sleep was also considered a relatively effective strategy for retaining new information in a 2019 study published in the journal Sleep. In it, 90 young adults attended a detailed factual seminar, then took a nap, took a break, or continued studying. A week after the session, those who took the nap remembered more details.

 

  1. Math advantage

Could your math skills improve with a sleep session during the day? In a 2016 study of 32 adults, 4 scores on addition and subtraction exercises improved after volunteers took a 20-minute nap. Even though you probably won't wake up and start proving complex mathematical theorems, it's possible that a little nap can help you do calculations.

 

  1. Mood enhancement

Napping can provide a "significant" improvement in mood, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Sleep Research. It can also help you endure a frustrating situation longer and make less impulsive decisions, say the researchers behind a small 2015 study published in Personality and Individual Differences.

 

 

 

How long should I nap?

If you're feeling mildly fatigued — and not something more profound like chronic sleep loss — a 20- to 30-minute nap seems like the perfect place to support your health, says Michelle Drerup, PsyD., program director of sleep behavior medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center.

This recommendation is consistent with the published research described above. Longer daytime naps can lead to deeper sleep stages, leaving you dizzy afterwards and interfering with sleep at night.

 

When is the best time of day to take a nap?

If you've ever been tempted to take a nap during a mid-afternoon meeting or found yourself staring into space after lunch, science can explain why: the body's circadian clock, which regulates feelings of drowsiness and alertness during the cycle. power cut in adults between 13 p.m. and 15 p.m.

If your schedule permits, this window of time can be ideal for a short nap — you can nap effectively and be far enough away from bedtime to minimize the impact on sleep at night, says Mims. In general, she advises against taking a nap after mid-afternoon.

 

Does the nap have negative effects?

Published in 2016 6 , a study found that a nap pattern of more than 40 minutes was associated with a markedly increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome – a set of disorders marked by high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar and other health problems.

A 2018 study in China already suggested a link between daytime naps and depression. All of these studies suggest an association; they do not directly prove health problems.

 

Can napping help with weight loss?

So far, there is no evidence that napping has a direct effect on weight loss. But healthy sleep habits are important for overall weight control.

A 2011 research review 7 published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care determined that too little sleep or poor sleep are risk factors for obesity.

Possible reasons cited in the survey include decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased nocturnal concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol, and effects on blood-regulating hormones. appetite, ghrelin and leptin. So it's worth a little sleep in the afternoon

 

To nap or not to nap?

For people with overall healthy sleep, the time limit for a quick nap during the day – around 30 minutes or less – can provide a short-term restorative boost and promote long-term health.

But if you experience persistent fatigue during the day or have trouble sleeping at night, talk to a doctor. It is important to identify or rule out a major sleep problem.

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