Most of us are lucky to start the day out at 50% capacity due to a late bedtime the night before, or plain exhaustion from burning the candle at both ends for far too long.
If you’re like me, you might be thinking something along the lines of: “Napping’s for lazy people and losers who don’t have anything better to do with their day.” Am I close? Upon closer inspection on habits that give the successful people of the world a bigger edge, I learned that so many of them are devout nappers! From famous French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte, to genius Albert Einstein, to pop mega star Katy Perry; they all appear to prefer a quick afternoon recharge over the morning snooze button.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger told us to sleep only for 6 hours every night, he never said naps were completely out of the question!
Sleep’s important. No doubt about it…
Though I’m almost ashamed to admit it, I’ve recently (in the last month) taken up napping for a wee bit in the afternoon. I don’t know what sparked it, but I started to get “pain-free” pressure headaches midday after working for 4 or 5 hours. You know, the kind that doesn’t exactly hurt, yet the feeling of your brain expanding and pressing against the front, top and/or sides of your skull does anything but inspire insightful thought or nose-to-the-grindstone-style old fashioned hard work?
The pressure was so bad it made me dizzy, and anyhow taking a 30 minute siesta in the futon handily located beside my desk everyday has really helped to get me over that midday hump, though the pressure headaches still come on toward the end of the day if I push too hard.
1. Their hearts love them
Did you know that your blood pressure falls by 5 percent after just a short 20 minute cat nap? A little nap helps to de-stress, allowing the high cortisol levels that have been building in your blood throughout the first half or so of the work day to drop. A rested endocrine and nervous system equals a rested body and mind for peak productivity. See more about the endocrine system and stress hormones: NCBI
2. They’re more focused
That same 20 minute nap mentioned previously can help to boost your productivity by up to a third. Not bad at all, right? The key to getting maximum refreshment benefit from your snooze session is to really “focus” on shutting down your brain for the entire time. It can take practice at first and learning some basics about meditation can really help to maximize your shut-eye time.
3. Their bodies love them
The body really ramps up its detox efforts while sleeping, in particular when our metabolism slows down. Just a short sleep session will help to clean out the toxins you were sucking in while fighting through morning traffic, and help regulate the sugar and insulin spikes you forced on your body with the morning double-double and syrup-filled McGriddle. If you truly eat healthy, the benefits to your health will be even more so.
4. They’re more perceptive
After clearing the short-term cobwebs out that’re inevitable after sleeping, the mind and all 5 senses are at their peak. Of particular use to entrepreneurs and working stiffs alike is the ability to hear and see better. Studies have show that we can comprehend speech and other sounds at up to 3 fewer decibles than before a nap. Being in a rested mood also allows us to push narcissism aside and pay attention to what those around us are feeling more too.
5. They have a higher “bow chicka wow wow” score
Blood flow increases by up to 10 percent after sleeping. Not to mention the fact that most people who have problems in the bedroom — who blame their lack of desire and performance on “overwork” — are actually just under rested or tired-of-being-tired. A well-rested mind and body will make both of you more amorous and thus; happier in general. Learn more about libido issues and how to avoid/correct them here.
6. They have healthier body weight
If you’ve heard the term “stress belly” or “haggered hips” but never really understood what they mean, they mean stress and overwork actually make fat accumulate around our entire trunk area. This comes from elevated cortisol and other stress hormone levels in the bloodstream which cause fat to accumulate in this area, even when your diet is good. Alcohol also causes excess cortisol in the blood, which works in tandem with the sugars it contains to cause “beer belly,” which is exactly the same thing. Learn more about avoiding stress belly here.
7. They’re more positive and pleasant to be around
If you don’t have a better outlook on life and a more pleasant disposition after your 30 winks, you’re doing it wrong! Plain and simple. Make sure you’re not sleeping in a cramped position that allows full stomach breaths.
8. They’re more successful
I could name a thousand-and-one celebs and people of business who attribute at least some of their success to taking a daily interlude with Dr. Sleep. LL Cool J believes that a daily nap + goal setting and visualization while doing so, have been instrumental to his many successes:
“I don’t get as much sleep as I should — maybe five or six hours. I nap every day like a kindergartner. I eat a light lunch, then lie down and close my eyes. I don’t always sleep. Some days I close my eyes and envision my goals.”
He’s not wrong. After all, how many of us can really take 8 hours off at night for some uninterrupted zzz’s?
I’ll leave you with this cool infographic I found detailing some fact about napping that might interest some of you (don’t forget to celebrate International Napping Day next time it comes around!):
As for me: it’s around that time right now!
Share your thoughts in the comments.