We all get excited when we hear the word nap. It usually connotes rest or a refreshing break in our rather long, tiring day. But do you know the science behind it? If not, keep reading this article on Get Healthy Naps!
There are no conclusive studies about the long-term effects of nap yet. But what we know is that there are studies which say it is beneficial and some studies which mean that they are not.
Get Healthy Naps – These are Essential for Fitness
To understand the science behind naps, here are some studies made about it:
Naps and its relation to cardiovascular diseases
A 2019 study by Heart, a medical journal, concluded that those who nap once or twice a week is 48% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to those who didn’t. The diary arrived at this conclusion after tracking the nap habits of almost 3,500 people for over five years.
On the other hand, Sleep, another journal published last 2915 that people who nap for more than an hour or more in a day is 1.82 times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases.
These studies are still not conclusive, and more research needs to be conducted about it.
Naps and athletes
A group of Tunisian researchers recruited 14 physically active males to test the effect of a 30 minute-nap on their physical and mental performance after a night of sleeplessness. The group was divided into two.
They alternated between a night of healthy Sleep and disrupted sleep and nap and no-nap days. The researchers’ pegged a full night’s Sleep if the subject was able to rest from 10 pm to 6 am while disrupted Sleep was from 10 pm to 3 am, and they took a 30-minute nap between 1 pm to 1:30 pm.
The researchers then performed a series of cognitive tests and a shuttle-run analysis so they can measure their mood, attentiveness, reaction and short duration, high-intensity repetitive exercises.
For the shuttle run test, the participants were made to sprint to a mark five meters from the starting line and back before sprinting to the second mark which is 10 meters away from the starting line and back. This continues for 30 seconds, and 6 repetitions and participants were given a 35 seconds break in between.
The researchers collected data on the participants speak distance (longest distance covered in 30 seconds), total distance (total distance covered during the six repetitions) and fatigue index.
Results of the study showed that the peak distance was higher, and fatigue was lower for those who took naps compared to those who didn’t, including those who had a good night’s Sleep. Those who took naps also performed way better in the other cognitive tests.
These studies show how beneficial naps can be for ordinary citizens and athletes alike.
But it is also essential to ask why people are taking a nap.
According to Dr Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson, taking a nap to get through the day is probably a good thing. But he said that if people nap because they are having problems, staying awake, then there’s perhaps an underlying health issue. Two possibilities are the person is not getting enough Sleep at night or has poor sleep quality.
Dr. Clete Kushida, a neurologist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University Medical Center in California, agrees with Dr. Grandner when he said that if the person is experiencing significant daytime sleepiness, it’s usually an indicator of inadequate sleep quantity. But if the person seems to have adequate Sleep but still suffers the urge to nap, then there is a possible sleep or medical disorder.
Both doctors also agree that an ideal nap should last long. A long nap during the day can disrupt sleeping patterns at night. It is generally recommended to maximize Sleep during nighttime.
However, Dr. Grandner made an exception for those who occasionally don’t get enough Sleep at night. They can use the nap to recoup during the day. This situation is common, especially for college students.
Dr. Grandner also sees a more cultural aspect of the way we see Sleep. He said that our culture doesn’t value Sleep to the point that we admire people about how little they sleep and still begin to function well. He furthers his statement by saying that Sleep is a fundamental part of our biology, just like diet and physical activity, so we have to give more value to it.
In conclusion, as the fitness research in this article on ‘Get Healthy Naps’ demonstrate, naps can help you achieve greater levels of rest & fitness!