If there was something that made us famous worldwide (after paella, flamenco, the Mediterranean, Julio Iglesias …) it was our naps. Those minutes of rest after the mealtime that gave us life. But the truth is that for decades that due to the daily hustle and bustle of globalization we lost (forced us) to abandon naps.
According to Fundación Corazón 6 out of 10 Spaniards, they never take a nap. Recent research has indicated that in the last hundred years, in addition, we have lost at least two hours of sleep a day. Therefore, the custom of the nap, which only practices in Spain 16.2% of the population, according to the Health Education Foundation of the San Carlos Clinical Hospital and the Spanish Association of the Bed (Asocama), could help us to Recover lost sleep and ensure a healthier lifestyle.
A short nap of no more than half an hour or 45 minutes has been shown to help the recovery of our heart and arteries after the stress and effort made after a day of intense work. But it has other benefits:
– Reduces blood pressure. A study by Allegheny College in Pennsylvania (USA) conducted on 85 healthy university students has shown that those who take a daily nap of between 45 minutes and one hour see their blood pressure and heart rate decrease.
– Facilitates learning. A study by the University of Berkeley ensures that those who take a nap perform more in the afternoon and increase their learning capacity by 10%. The dream, they say, allows us to face new knowledge and fix those already acquired.
– Increase in concentration. There are numerous studies that show that nap helps improve any task that involves remembering lists of words or objects. Sleep facilitates short-term memory storage and leaves room for new data.
– Stimulates creativity. A team of neurologists at Georgetown University has proven that nap increases creativity.
– Improves reflexes . A NASA study of 747 pilots showed that those who slept a daily 26-minute nap made 34% fewer mistakes at work and doubled their alert levels.
– Promotes positivity. Another Berkeley study says that individuals who take a nap and go through the REM phase increase their receptivity to the facial expression of happiness.
– Improves mood. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep, appetite, and mood. And sleep floods our brain with serotonin, which gives us a sense of satisfaction and well-being.
– Essential to growing: Dr. María Sainz, head of the Preventive Medicine Service of the San Carlos Clinical Hospital in Madrid, is clear that if she had to prescribe a nap as a compulsory treatment for someone, she does not doubt that it would be two groups: babies and adolescents. Its development depends, to a large extent, on the number of hours they sleep. “Up to eighteen or twenty years is essential because the body is in full progression and growth hormone is only released when resting,” he explains.
Leon Lack, professor of psychology at Flinders University in Australia, suggests taking 10-minute naps. According to the doctor, a quick pause is more effective than a half-hour one, as he found in a group of 24 volunteers who underwent mental agility tasks after the break. Those who sleep longer took longer to wake up.
In conclusion, taking a short nap, no longer than half an hour, is not only useful for recovering the sleep time lost after a busy night, but it seems a healthy and recommended habit for all people who can do it.