6 things afternoon naps can do for your health

Nigerians have to be the most sleep-deprived people on the planet! We're up at the crack of dawn, in search of daily bread.

Studies show that an afternoon nap is great for adults, too. A short nap can boost memory, improve job performance, lift your mood, make you more alert, and ease stress. Embrace these nap benefits.

We spend hours in traffic and arrive home just before midnight. Weekends, we're out partying all night. Yet, sleep is important for good health. The alternative is a nap or two in the day. We're going to share with you some surprising health benefits of napping in the afternoon.

According to a new study, a quick nap in the afternoon is good for your health. Researchers at the Asklepieion General Hospital in Greece studied 212 people. They found that those who took a siesta experienced a fall in blood pressure. Overall, napping during the day was associated with an average 5 mm Hg drop in blood pressure. There's more!

Studies have shown that sleep plays an important role in storing memories. A nap can help you remember things learned earlier in the day as much as a full night’s sleep. Napping keeps you from forgetting things like motor skills, sensory perception, and verbal recall, too.

Not only can napping help you remember things you’ve just learned. But it could help your brain draw connections between things you find out. In one study, nappers found it easier to put together information they got earlier in the day.

One of the health benefits of napping that will surprise you is it enhances creativity. Ever wake up with a great idea? REM sleep, which typically starts 70 to 90 minutes after you fall asleep, activates parts of your brain associated with imagery and dreaming. A nap with REM sleep can help you combine ideas in new ways to come up with answers.

If you’re feeling down, try taking a nap to lift your spirits. Napping, or even just resting for an hour without falling asleep, can brighten your outlook. Experts say relaxation that comes from lying down and resting is a mood booster, whether you fall asleep or not.

If you start to feel a bit sleepy right after lunch, you’re not alone. The post-lunch struggle is real. A 20-minute nap can help you battle heavy eyelids.

If you’re feeling tired but have work or studying to get done, you may be better off taking a nap than sipping a coffee. Compared to caffeine, napping can bring better memory and learning.

If you’re under a lot of pressure, a nap can release stress and improve your immune health. Experts believe that a 30-minute nap can do the trick.

Although it may seem illogical, taking a nap during the day can help older adults improve sleep at night. Studies show a 30-minute nap between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. combined with moderate exercise; like a walk and stretching in the evening, helps improve nighttime sleep. Mental and physical health can get better, as well.

This article was first published on AfricaParent.com

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