The culture in which we live has made the line separating professional and private reality very fine and thin. Many of us end up working at home, think about it during weekends and holidays, and there is not much time left for a real physical and mental rest. A short break and specifically a short break for a nap can have a healthy effect on the quality of our lives and a sense of happiness. What other benefits does a short sleep break bring?
1. Creativity and problem solving
The human brain has two very important and dominant functions – performing tasks and resting. Our activities are based on tasks, but thanks to intuition and experience, we know how to perform them. When we rest and our brain is “disconnected”, we start to … dream. If during this last phase information starts to reach us, then the mind begins to “be up to something”, combine facts with intuition and experiences, associate, match or exclude, and as a result, we find a solution to the issues that concern us much faster. This is why we say it is better to “sleep on it” – the brain does a good, creative job while resting!
2. Sensory integration
Adults must face challenges every day that require them to be on a standby mode both psychologically and physically. If they lack such an attitude, which is often the effect of sensory integration disorders, they may display behaviors such as lack of organization, problems with establishing relationships, too large (or too small) involvement in interpersonal relationships, emotional swing and many more. Fortunately, this process can be reversed, even during sleep! All thanks to gravity blankets, which improve proprioceptive activities, and thus deepen our sensation, control muscle tone, and refine cognitive functions. A short nap under such a blanket will make the body calm down and the cortisol level will start to fall.
3. The quality of established relationships
Research by Harvard professors showed that the lack of strong and deep relationships with other people is just as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! What’s more, many scientists not only confirm this thesis but go a step further, claiming that the process of restimulation and too much technology can reduce the quality of our relationships and this is one of the major causes of divorce. Where does this assumption come from? Resting from stimulants makes us more present in relationships, we observe others and notice their needs. Resting animates and deepens relationships – also applies to shared naps.
4. Sleep improves athletic performance
Experts from the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center (United States) have published studies showing that athletes have higher quality results, better mood, and more energy when they sleep as much as 10 hours a day for 6 weeks. No wonder, during sleep, our muscles and micro-injuries regenerate faster, and therefore we experience post-workout fatigue for a shorter time. Naps during the day (not longer than 40 minutes) are also an excellent energy fuel, thanks to which we have more enthusiasm and motivation to start physical activity.
5. Increased productivity
Our vigilance and mindfulness decrease from hour to hour during the day, but this process can be stopped by a short twenty-minute nap. The benefits to the brain of such a short rest are enormous. The more space to relax during the week, the more productive we are. What’s interesting, in order to do more, paradoxically, you should do less. Frequent naps, prolonged night sleep, holidays, frequent trips and breaks increase productivity, work efficiency and, of course, serve health.