11 Things No One Ever Told You About Napping

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Naps get kind of a bad rap, but the truth is that there's probably a lot of things no one ever told you about napping. Like for the longest time, you might've heard you should try to avoid daytime napping if you're having trouble sleeping at night. But the National Sleep Foundation says taking a short nap can actually be beneficial, even if you've had a full night of sleep.

There's still a negative stigma attached to napping, says the National Sleep Foundation, and many people think that napping is just for children or the elderly. But the National Sleep Foundation says napping can be beneficial for people of all ages. In fact, taking naps can help your work performance, improve your memory, and even make you feel happier, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The key to taking an effective nap is to keep it to about 30 minutes so you don't feel too groggy afterwards and to pick a time of day that won't affect your nighttime sleeping patterns, says The National Sleep Foundation. But napping isn't just about relieving your fatigue; these are 11 other things no one ever told you about napping that make getting in some afternoon ZZZs so amazing.

1. It's Normal To Feel Sleepy In The Afternoon

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You know that post-lunch energy dip? Well, the National Sleep Foundation says that's pretty normal. In fact, most people's circadian rhythms dip between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., says the National Sleep Foundation, which is why most people get the yawns right around then.

2. Taking A Nap Won't Mess Up Your Sleep

Some people worry that taking daytime naps will mess with their ability to fall asleep at night. But the National Sleep Foundation says if you make sure to take your nap during the time in the afternoon when you're feeling sleepy, you'll be fine.

3. Napping Can Boost Your Immune System

According to Mental Floss, sleep deprivation can affect your immune system and increase your level of stress hormones like cortisol in your body. But a 2015 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that taking just two-hour naps can help you boost your immune system's ability to function.

4. Naps Can Improve Your Memory

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Even in well-rested people, taking a nap helped people recall information way better than if they hadn't taken a nap, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). "For many types of memory, the benefits of a nap are substantial," Sara Mednick, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside, told the APA.

5. Naps Can Make You Happier

Taking an hour-long nap can also be good for your mood, says the APA. After taking a short nap, the APA says people tend to feel less impulsive and have a greater tolerance for things that frustrated them.

6. A Nap Won't Make You More Tired

According to Forbes, one of the common myths about naps is that you'll feel more tired if you take a midday nap. But Mayo Clinic says that, for some people, taking a nap during the day can actually make you feel more alert and give you better reaction time.

7. Naps Improve Your Creativity

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Taking a nap can boost activity in the right hemisphere of your brain, which is the side responsible for creativity, according to Psychology Today. A quick snooze during the day can also encourage cross-communication between both sides of your brain, says Psychology Today, getting both the creative and analytical sides to communicate better.

8. Taking Naps Can Help Your Decision-Making

Catching a quick nap can improve your cognitive flexibility, says Psychology Today, which is your ability to think about different concepts and adapt to new information. Psychology Today says when your brain is feeling limber, you're better able to make difficult decisions.

9. Naps Can Be Better Than Caffeine

If your eyelids are feeling a bit heavy, taking a short nap might actually be better than reaching for some caffeine, according to WebMD. For some people, catching some brief shut-eye can be better for memory and learning than sipping on some caffeine, says WebMD.

10. Naps Can Lower Your Stress Levels

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If you're feeling a little stressed out, WebMD says taking a short nap might help you relax. People who've taken short naps have experienced decreased blood pressure after going through stressful situations, according to WebMD, so taking a brief nap the next time you're feeling a little tense might help.

11. Naps Aren't For Everyone

Just because there's been a lot of talk about how awesome naps are doesn't mean you have to take naps. Dr. Benjamin Smarr, a sleep research expert and National Institutes of Health postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, told Forbes, "While some may find midday naps hugely helpful in improving the remainder of their day, others might find it difficult to restart after a midday nap for a variety of reasons."

Naps can be an awesome way to recharge your internal batteries if you're feeling a little low on juice. And they do a lot more than make you feel a little more awake than you did before you got that extra bit of shut-eye. But it's totally up to you if you want to try getting an afternoon siesta every now and again.