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A few scientifically backed reasons to nap, as if you needed more (21 Photos)
Naps seem get a bad rap, especially when they happen at work. But research suggests this kind of thinking is completely antiquated. Extra sleep can help boost your memory, reduce stress, and enhance your sex life. Plus, there’s the whole “naps feel awesome” part which is nice. Check out the benefits in detail below.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should be getting around seven to nine hours of sleep a night. However, if you’re like most people you fall shy of that target as Americans average only 6.8 hours per night. While it’s ideal to get your shut eye at night, it wouldn’t be bad idea to rest your eyes several times a day.
A team of German neuropsychologists found that napping after learning something can make your memory of that information five times better than if you had stayed awake afterward. The researchers say your brain’s ability to go into a tranquil state during sleep is linked to your ability to remember. Mandatory naptime at the office? That’s just good management.
The creative parts of your brain love naps. Daytime sleep can very effectively boost creative thinking, enhance processing, improve memory recall and generally clear out the cobwebs.
If you find yourself arguing with your partner more often than not, check your sleeping habits. Research from the University of California, Berkeley found that just one night without rest can make arguments with your partner worse. Why? You’re less accurate at reading your partner’s emotions and more likely to be cranky all day.
The less you sleep, the more likely you are to gain weight, a Stanford University study found. Researchers discovered that a lack of sleep triggers your body’s production of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you want to eat more, and lowers levels of the hormone leptin, which tells you when you’re full.
Naps can have the same effect as Xanax, so take a figurative chill pill. Being tired can make you more uptight, according to a study from University of California, Berkeley. Scientists found when people didn’t get enough sleep, they showed significantly more activity in areas of the brain associated with anxiety.
Naps help you to be an improved driver. Lack of sleep makes you a liability on the road—even when you don’t feel tired, says a study from the University of Pennsylvania. Scientists discovered that people who slept six or fewer hours a night were almost three times more likely to fall asleep at the wheel than those who logged seven hours.
It helps with random and indiscriminate horniness. According to research out of Hendrix College, being exhausted is like wearing beer goggles. When the men in the study were sleep deprived, they thought women were more attractive and were more interested in casual sex. Researchers found that sleep deprivation messes with the frontal lobe of your brain, which is involved in judgment, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior.
It can help protect your heart. Just one night of bad sleep can make your blood vessels less flexible. This alone can raise your risk of heart disease, which can, well, kind of kill you. Scientists think that when your brain is wiped, it signals to your blood vessels to become stiff and unresponsive. The good news: Study participants’ vessels went back to normal after getting enough rest.
Napping can help boost your niceness rating. Sleep deprivation makes you more likely to stereotype, research published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology finds. A lack of sleep depletes your self-control, so the less you sleep, the worse you become at filtering the prejudices you know are wrong.
Men who are short on shuteye are more likely to wrongfully assume a woman is into them, says a study published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Researchers found that sleep deprivation narrows your attention span, slows your brain’s ability to process information, and hurts your short-term memory, making you interpret her innocent glance as a meaningful stare.
Long night? Naps combat that. Lack of sleep leads to stress and can even leave you feeling sick. However, you’re not totally screwed after you pull a late night—as long as you catch some mini-snoozes. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that men who took two half-hour naps the day after getting just two hours of sleep were able to reset their stress-hormone levels, leaving them less stressed and healthier than those who never napped.
People who sleep less than 6 hours per night have a higher risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientists think people who sleep less are more stressed out, which may contribute to the development of those fatal conditions.
Taking a nap could actually boost your performance in the gym. A study from Stanford University found that athletes who got more sleep over a three-week period achieved faster sprint times, longer endurance, a lower heart rate, and better workouts in general.
According to research from the University of California at Irvine, sleep deprivation may increase your odds of developing fake memories. In the study, people who didn’t get enough shuteye were more likely to report that they saw imaginary details in photos—when they actually had just read about those details in a separate narrative afterward. People who got enough sleep beforehand, however, didn’t screw it up. Researchers say a lack of sleep jumbles up the information stored in your brain, causing confusion.
Naps will help you focus. A study from the University of California, Berkeley found that the more hours we spend awake, the more sluggish our brains become. The solution? Nap. Study participants who took a siesta during a day of learning were able to pay better attention later that day. Those who missed naptime were more easily distracted and became worse at learning as the day went on.
It helps boost your libido. Sleeping less than five hours a day may decrease your testosterone levels by 10 to 15 percent, according to a University of Chicago study. When you don’t have enough testosterone in your body, you may have a lower sex drive, weaker sperm, and difficulty getting it up. Sleep is essential for testosterone production, the researchers say. Get too little, and your body will produce chemicals that mess with your T.
Not getting enough shuteye can raise your risk of developing diabetes, according to research from the University of Chicago. In the study, healthy men who were restricted to 4.5 hours of sleep for four days had more fatty acids in their blood—which can eventually cause your blood sugar to soar—than when they slept for 8.5 hours. Researchers say you should be able to reverse the effects by getting more sleep.
A lack of sleep may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, says research from Johns Hopkins University. Study participants who didn’t catch enough shuteye had greater deposits of B-Amyloid, a plaque associated with Alzheimer’s, in their brains. While you sleep, your brain essentially cleans itself, removing those plaques.
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