If you start taking power naps daily, you will feel more productive, energetic, healthy and even more creative, new studies suggest.
The idea of being a stressed workaholic has been glamorised by the media, placing importance on having endless to-do lists and a frantic workspace as being the pinnacle of success.
So it’s no wonder that with our expanding workloads we need an afternoon siesta every now and then, and actually, naps can do you a world of good. Swap out your caffeinated beverages for a twenty-minute power nap and you might feel more productive, have increased energy, more balanced hormones, have a healthier heart and you might even be more creative, scientists are arguing.
At the Neuroscience annual meeting in 2012 , a study that looked into how power naps can make you more creative was presented. Naps increase activity in the right side of your brain, which is the side that is responsible for all aspects of creativity and imagination. The study used near-infrared spectroscopy, which places optical fibres on the individual’s scalp. These ‘optrodes’ work by sending infrared light through the brain, measuring how much light returns.
The results are found by measuring the intensity of light bouncing back as it shows an estimate of blood flow throughout the different areas of the brain. The study observed fifteen individuals as they took a nap to determine their brain activity and found that whilst the right-side was very active, the left-side stayed fairly quiet.
The author of the study, Andrei Medvedev, Ph.D. of Georgetown University’s Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging, speculates that the right side of the brain might be performing what we may call ‘housekeeping’ tasks whilst taking a power nap, consolidating memories and performing other cognitive tasks that improve performance once we wake.
“Emerging scientific evidence suggests that naps—even very short ones—significantly enhance cognitive function,” John Friedman M.D, director of the Texas Brain & Spine Institute, explains. “Increasing understanding of how sleep improves brain function may someday allow us to harness this effect, and the current study may open one of many doors in this regard.”
The field of sleep analysis is growing quickly and these findings lay the groundwork for further research to be carried out. It does provide insight into which parts of our brain are working hard whilst our bodies are resting. All the more reason for putting down the computer and taking a quick nap this afternoon!
Do you find this kind of research interesting? How do you feel after taking power naps? Let us know in the comments – I know I, for one, love taking naps!