One Key to a Better Life? Nap More
You know how great it feels to succumb to the lures of a nap. Turns out that daytime snoozing could be even more beneficial than you know. Sleep stints of 45 to 60 minutes can boost memory by fivefold, finds a new study published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. Tell that to a partner who thinks you're just being lazy.
Previous research has shown the impact of sleep on memory, and the theory is that certain kinds of memory content are "consolidated" during sleep, or moved from short- to long-term memory, which could make room for new information. Oh, and there are other impressive benefits: Napping three times a week is linked to a lower risk of heart disease-related death, per research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
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It can increase your reaction time and focus, as this study done on air traffic controllers in the Journal of Sleep Research found. It may even boost your creativity. And as mothers and fathers well know, naps can also bolster your will to survive when you have a newborn, as well as at any point whatsoever during parenthood.
The latest research is yet more proof that cats clearly know how to live life better than humans do, and that companies would do well to set up nap rooms in offices. While you're at it, companies, could you maybe throw in a sauna and juice bar?
Meanwhile, for the best nap possible, follow these Health.com tips: Snooze as close to the middle of the day as possible, so it won't interfere with your nighttime sleep. Hit a couch rather than a bed, so you don't get too comfy, keeping the lighting dim rather than pitch black so your brain doesn't think it's bedtime. Oh, and consider having a cup of coffee before crashing if you can only snooze about 20 to 30 minutes; that's how long caffeine takes to kick in, so you'll wake up soon as the caffeine takes effect and feel all refreshed.