Napping, an underrated activity?

Some research has already shown the benefits of napping on our efficiency and our health. While it can be a huge help to insomniacs, students, employees or even athletes, improving efficiency, learning abilities or muscle reconstruction, napping is not yet considered a necessity in western society.

However, a study recently published* showed the effectiveness of napping on learning. The participants, 90 students in total, had to learn detailed information about articulated insects (arthropods), and then either had to take a break (by watching a movie), take a nap, or to revise the information. The 30-minute test showed that revising and napping performed better than taking a break.

The same test, performed the following week, demonstrated better results in the group that had taken a nap than those in the other two groups. It could therefore be concluded that a siesta has more lasting benefits!

Sleep makes it easier to assimilate information seen just before falling asleep. This is why it is very effective to study just before going to bed.

This particular study concerns students, however napping is actually recommended to all categories of the population, as long as it does not exceed 30 minutes (20 min being ideal). Sleeping longer exposes you to the risk of feeling groggy, and finally, even more tired than before!

The best time remains after lunch, preferably between 13-14h, so it is still early enough to allow you to get to sleep well in the evening.

At work, it increases efficiency and concentration during the rest of the day. Napping, at least three times a week, will improve a sense of well-being as you will feel rested in the afternoon. That’s why it is an established part of Japanese culture: many companies have a room dedicated to employees’ siestas; equipped with mattresses and reduced brightness to help them sleep. Indeed, in Japan, napping is positively seen as it shows that you work hard enough to become exhausted. In Europe, this is unfortunately not (yet) part of our culture, a siesta is still perceived incorrectly as a sign of laziness.

Taking a nap in the early afternoon reduces stress and, at the same time, the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is linked to the constant stress that we suffer in our ever-faster lifestyles. It also helps to compensate a lack of sleep, especially among insomniacs.

Napping is also recommendable to athletes, after a session to recover as much physically as mentally.

There’s no need to go to a bed; it’s totally possible to nap at work (if accepted) with your chair ideally a little tilted up and your feet raised. If that’s not possible, then a little meditation will do you a lot of good. There is actually a nap bar in Paris, a space which has been especially designed for daytime napping!

If you are prone to restless sleep or stress prevents you from falling asleep, diet can also play an important role in improving your nights. You will need to find a balance diet containing certain micronutrients that we recommend in our program “Stress and Sleep” !

Our menus will be personalised according to your tastes, cravings, and especially adapted to your appetite to reduce stress and therefore, sleep better!

* Cousins, J. N., Wong, K. F., Raghunath, B. L., Look, C., & Chee, M. W. L. (2018). The long-term memory benefits of a daytime nap compared to cramming. Sleep. doi:10.1093/sleep/zsy207

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