Do afternoon naps help?

We all know the invaluable benefits of napping among children, particularly infants and toddlers. A parent’s entire schedule in the day revolves around the sacred nap time of their child/children.

But is napping only for children? Do adults also benefit from taking afternoon naps? Of course, most adults are hard at work which leaves little room for naps during the day, at least during the week. But research states that a quick nap in the afternoon is good for adults as well. It helps them feel refreshed and energised and might even make them more productive at work.

But taking a nap in the afternoon is mired with myths like it will lead to obesity, lethargy or disturb the quality of sleep at night. All these suppositions have no scientific basis and are far from the truth.

Yes, a long sleep schedule of 2-3 hours in the afternoon will not be beneficial to the body and mind. But a quick cat nap of 30 to 45 minutes is endorsed by science Here’s why:

Better digestion – A short nap in the afternoon is known to improve digestion. Sleep relaxes the body so all energy is devoted to breaking down the nutrients in the food and circulating it throughout the body. Those suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and constipation can really benefit from afternoon naps.

No bloating – For those who often feel bloated or over full during the day, the afternoon nap will speed up the digestion and help eliminate the bloated feeling

Quality sleep at night – It is believed that a short nap of a half hour or so between 1 PM and 3 PM along with moderate workouts or walks in the day actually aid in improving the quality of night time sleep.

Balances hormones – For those who suffer from hormone imbalances and have thyroid or PCOS, a nap can go a long way in maintain the hormone levels. It is equally useful for diabetic patients. Napping is also an effective method of curbing overeating tendencies.

Boosts memory – A quick afternoon nap is a mood lifter; it aids creativity and is known to boost memory. A fitful undisturbed 30–45-minute nap will also make a person more alert and can do wonders in reducing stress levels.

Right way to nap – Sleep right after lunch, lie down to your left in foetal position, sleep no longer than 30 to 45 minutes and time it between 1 PM – 3 PM.

If you are at home, lie down on a comfortable mattress on your bed. For those at work, just rest your head on the desk and rest.

The don’ts to napping – Don’t nap between 4 PM – 7 PM. Do not take stimulants like coffee, chocolates, cigarettes or tea after lunch. Don’t browse your phone. Avoid sleeping longer than 30-45 minutes and if you are at home, do not sleep with your television on. All these will affect the quality of your nap and eliminate the many benefits that can be derived from it.

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