There is beauty sleep, and dreadful sleep. According to an article by the American Heart Association, we have to think twice why we take a nap. A power nap is a good reason to sleep. It normally lasts between 15 to 45 minutes. The aim here is to rejuvenate your strength and energy to carry on with the rest of the day’s activities. Dr. Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson, says that if you are well-rested, then a power nap can do you a lot of good and boost performance pretty well.
Compared to a cup of coffee, the benefits of a power nap, and companies such as NASA and Google have allowed their workers to add a siesta in their daily tasks. Did you know that persons who napped once or twice a week were 48 percent less likely to experience cardiovascular events than those who didn’t? These were the findings of a study published in the British medical journal, Heart, 2019, where the napping habits of almost 3,500 individuals were studied for over five years. These findings contradict a Meta analysis of 11 studies published in the journal Sleep in 2015, which showed that individuals who nap for an hour or more daily had 1.82 times the rate of cardiovascular disease than those who didn’t nap. This is a clear indication that more research needs to be done since we do not possess sufficient knowledge when it comes to establishing the connection between naps and optimal health.
The most urgent question that comes from all this is, why do we take naps? Grandner says that if you are napping because you are refueling your body, then that is a good thing, but if you are napping because you cannot stay awake, then that is a symptom of an underlying health issue. It could be that you are not getting enough sleep at night, or your sleep quality is downright poor. We are living in a culture where sleep is not appreciated. Napping too long in the day also disrupts night sleep patterns. People would rather spend long hours awake, sleep a few hours then try to replace the missing sleep with a replacement nap. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one-third of U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep, which is at least seven hours every night. The risks involved when we do not get enough sleep include heart disease, depression, and obesity. It is about time that we stop looking at sleep as unproductive time. There is enough evidence to show that sleep is an important part of our functioning as humans.