Have a good nap: what are the benefits?
A good nap , understood as an afternoon rest due to sleeping after lunch , can have very beneficial effects on people.
Most mammals on our planet have a habit of taking a lot of naps throughout the day. Just think of cats and dogs, for example. On the contrary, in our contemporary society man generally divides the 24 hours into two different moments: the one to be devoted to sleep and the one to be devoted to waking.
In fact, the afternoon nap is mainly done by children and older individuals. However, many younger people also value a good nap .
Have a good nap: there are three types of nap
There are three different naps:
- Preparation rest: Many people, before going to bed, take a little rest on the sofa every night. It can be defined as “preparation” because it represents a sort of “preview” of the actual night sleep.
- Occasional or emergency naps: sometimes you fall asleep in the afternoon. The reasons why you do this can be of various kinds: it may depend on the fact that you have not slept at night, or perhaps on the fact that the working morning was so stressful or tiring that you deprived yourself of a large part of your energy. A good nap can therefore help to “recharge the batteries” and face the second part of the day with greater strength and clarity.
- Habitual nap: an afternoon sleep every day. This is a very common practice among older people, accustomed to sleeping after lunch . Moreover, sleep after lunch often becomes routine even for people on vacation who go on vacation for one or more weeks.
Both occasional and habitual naps can be very healthy.
I drink it after lunch
The so-called abbiocco after lunch that leads to an afternoon nap can happen to anyone, young and old. But why does this happen? Much depends on the glycemic load, i.e. what you ate and how much you ate.
In fact, having lunch with foods rich in fat and in large quantities increases the glycemic index, to which the intervention of insulin responds.
It is a type of diet that not only makes you fat, but makes you tired and exhausted because it requires a lot of energy from the body.
Therefore, having a full meal is fine, but don’t do it in abundance too often, and it’s also very important not to get too much fat.
In any case, regardless of whether you have eaten too much or not, a good nap , or the act of sleeping after lunch, brings important benefits, as already highlighted above, and as better explained in the next paragraph.
The benefits of a good nap
The afternoon rest is beneficial for the body. In fact, a good nap , among other things, positively affects psychophysical well-being and productivity at work or in study.
More specifically, based on numerous empirical researches, it has been shown that a good rest brings the following benefits:
- It’s good for the mind: sleeping for 10-20 minutes after lunch helps optimize concentration and memory.
- It’s good for the heart: a good post-lunch nap lowers the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems. Depriving yourself of sleep can have serious consequences on the heart, so the afternoon nap can also be seen as a wellness treatment for one of the most important organs of the body. A study of 25 people, conducted over 6 years, showed that people who regularly took a good nap after lunch had a 37% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
- Reduces Stress: Sleeping after lunch lowers cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone. From this it follows the fact that it reduces tensions. Furthermore, a study done in Athens, conducted on 386 middle-aged patients, showed that those who allowed themselves an afternoon nap had lower blood pressure than those who did not rest. High blood pressure is a cause for stress.
- Strengthens the immune system: an inadequate night’s rest alters the body’s natural defenses, making the body more prone to ailments. A good restorative nap in the afternoon, when you have had little or bad sleep at night, can help avoid the negative effects of bad sleep.
- It’s good for the skin: afternoon sleep promotes skin regeneration, and if done frequently it can help counteract the signs of aging.
- Improve people’s mood: poor rest puts you in a bad mood. In fact, poor sleep causes hormonal imbalance, which in turn creates a feeling of tiredness, and greater irritability. From this point of view, a good emergency nap can be of great help.
Tips for a good afternoon nap
Since sleeping in the afternoon is good for you, it can be useful to have some tips to get the most out of it. Like the ones provided below:
- The duration of the afternoon nap should not be prolonged: 10-20 minutes are enough to recover energy. Sleeping after lunch for over half an hour can instead have negative effects: lead to an inertia that could make waking up difficult, and at the same time cause a sense of dizziness that could last for the rest of the day.
- It is best to sleep in the early afternoon: falling asleep after 4pm could have counterproductive effects, and cause problems falling asleep at night.
To sleep better and therefore take a good nap , it is good to avoid falling asleep in the presence of annoying noises, which could have negative effects on the quality of sleep, limiting its beneficial effects.