Power nap: Four surprising benefits of a short snooze

If you are looking for a way to increase productivity at work and decrease the “blah” feeling that often hits at midday, then consider adding a power nap to your daily activities. Numerous studies have shown that a short nap in the middle of the day actually increases productivity in the workplace. Not only that, but it also improves overall health and wellness. Whether you are taking care of kids at home, or heading out to the office, you can use that energy boost that comes from taking a short rest.

Health benefits of napping

A nap has several health benefits. In Greece, for example, researchers found that people who took a 30 minute nap three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of dying of a heart attack, even in light of other lifestyle factors. That is a significant difference, and all for something as simple as taking a nap. Other potential benefits researchers have found include reversing the aging process, minimizing stress hormones and alleviating migraines.

Improved weight loss efforts

People trying to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight, are often sabotaged by the sugar and caffeine cravings that happen mid-afternoon. When you start craving these things, it is often due to the normal drowsiness you feel at this time of day. Mistaking this for hunger or the need for caffeine, you reach for the least healthy things available. Your energy spikes, only to crash again in a little while, starting the cycle over and packing on the unwanted pounds. That drowsiness you feel could be nature’s way of telling you it’s time for a nap, and all you have to do to break the cycle is give in and take one.

Increased mood and performance

Another reason to add a nap to your daily routine, at least a few days a week, is to improve your performance at work or around the home. Not napping causes a lack of clarity and a poor mood, and this hinders your performance on the job. By boosting your mood and your level of alertness with a power nap, you will improve your performance throughout the remainder of the day.

Power nap tips and tricks

The key to a successful power nap is not to sleep all afternoon. These naps are short, no longer than 40 minutes. If you sleep longer than that, you will actually feel more groggy as your body enters into a normal nighttime sleep pattern. If possible, take your nap between 1:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon, which is the prime time for sleeping. If you are at work, try to take a break at this time and put your head down on your desk for a quick snooze. If you are at home, curl up on the couch or in your bed for a little shut-eye. You will be glad you did when you realize all of the benefits of these short naps.