Guys, Take a Guilt-Free Nap
While napping sometimes gets a bad rap, new research shows that naps may be good for men. Naps may even make you smarter.
In a study presented at the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies Forum of Neuroscience in Copenhagen, German researchers examined the brain activity of 86 men and found that when they took naps there was an increase in slow sleep spindles – a type of electrical activity that corresponds to higher IQ scores. The findings were also published in the journal Scientific Reports.
*According to our own SleepIQ data, women enjoy 23 more minutes of restful time in bed than men.
Meanwhile, another recent study from the University of California, Riverside found that the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for doing things you don’t have to think about, like breathing and keeping your heart beating, kicks into high gear during naps. While you’re taking a siesta, this system helps take info in your short-term memory and solidify it in your brain so that you remember things for the long haul.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic note that napping also offers other perks, such as helping you relax and improving your mood. That said, snoozing during the day has the potential to interfere with a good night’s rest, so there are a few rules worth following:
Don’t overdo it.
In the German study, men napped for 100 minutes. That much time will enable you to get through a full sleep cycle, which is usually 70 to 100 minutes long, according to Harvard experts. But if you’re not super tired or you have a busy afternoon, 10 to 30 minutes may be plenty. Bonus: Keeping it short may prevent you from feeling groggy when you get up.
Time it right.
Around 2 to 3 p.m. is ideal for most people. If you don’t nap until 4 p.m. or later you might have a problem drifting off at your usual bedtime, which can throw your circadian rhythm out of whack.
Ease back into the afternoon.
If your nap is on the longer side, make sure you give yourself at least 15 minutes to perk up before diving back into the rest of your day. Splashing some water on your face and stepping out into bright sunshine for a few minutes helps, too.
For more information about naps –check out 7 Myths about Napping, Debunked.
*Timeframe: 11/15/16 – 1/24/17