HEALTH

Five reasons you should take a nap on National Napping Day

Mar 9, 2020, 6:32 AM | Updated: 6:45 am
spring forward fall back...
Monday March 9 is the first day of Daylight Saving Time and National Napping Day. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNN) — If you feel like calling it a day and dozing off for a bit and taking a quick nap, don’t feel bad — Monday is National Napping Day.

It can be hard to find the time to rejuvenate and recover amid daily responsibilities, but napping has benefits that could help you level up in your overall health and productivity — meaning there’s no reason to feel as if you’re lazy for indulging in a little you-time.

Here are five reasons why you should catch some zzz’s:

We just lost an hour of sleep

If the lurching forward of the clock for Daylight Saving Time on Sunday made you noticeably more tired, you’re not the only one. This time change was actually the inspiration for National Napping Day, which takes place annually the day after the clocks move ahead.

In 1999, Dr. William Anthony, a Boston University professor, and his wife, Camille, instituted National Napping Day in an effort to overcome American cultural prejudice against napping and to raise awareness about the health benefits of catching up on quality sleep.

“We figured this would be a good day to celebrate the importance of napping because everyone is one hour more sleep-deprived than usual,” Anthony said. “The fact is that the majority of Americans are sleep-deprived even without Daylight Saving Time.”

Because of their efforts, some workplaces have observed the day with nap breaks. Thank you, Dr. Anthony.

It can charge your brain’s batteries

A study at NASA on drowsy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%, according to the National Sleep Foundation, a non-profit sleep science and health organization.

Taking a nap may make you more alert for the period right after you wake up and maybe hours into the day. A short snooze may also make you feel more relaxed.

You’ll have lower risk for heart problems

Taking a nap once or twice a week could lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes, according to a 2019 study published in the journal Heart.

After tracking more than 3,400 people between the ages of 35 and 75 for slightly more than five years, the researchers found that those who indulged in occasional napping — once or twice a week, for five minutes to an hour — were 48% less likely to experience a heart attack, stroke or heart failure than those who didn’t nap at all.

It might even help you get into shape

A recent study focusing on women found the more sleep-deprived the women were, the more likely they were to consume added sugar, fatty foods and caffeine.

A lack of quality sleep could lead to overeating because inadequate sleep is believed to stimulate hunger and suppress hormone signals that communicate fullness. According to the researchers, the findings were important because women are at high risk for obesity and sleep disorders, which can both be driven by a high intake of food.

Napping has been found to improve the overall quality of even nighttime sleep.

And boost your creativity

The right side of your brain may experience a mental spark during a nap, research has suggested. The right side is the hemisphere most associated with creative tasks, like visualization and thinking, while the left is more analytic.

Researchers monitoring the brain activity of 15 people found that the right side of their brain communicated busily with itself as well as its left counterpart, which remained relatively quiet.

Napping may not ensure success in every aspect of your life, but it could improve your health and reboot your brain. Now go lie down.

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Five reasons you should take a nap on National Napping Day