Ahh, nap time!  It’s an amazing time, right?

But how many of us get a chance to actually take advantage of a nap?  I bet it’s not many.  The unfortunate thing about this is, we might not be taking full advantage of the benefits of taking a nap.

So what are the benefits?  There are actually a lot.  For starters, naps can restore and increase alertness.  You know that feeling when you just can’t use your brain anymore and want to turn it off?  That’s the point when your brain is not alert anymore and needs to rest.  Think of your brain like a muscle.  When a muscle gets tired or sore, it needs to rest.  When you take a nap, you’re resting your brain and helping it come back to normal.  According to a study by NASA, even just a 40-minute nap can increase alertness back up to 100%!

Another benefit of taking naps is that performance can be enhanced and mistakes and accidents can be reduced.  In that same study by NASA, the astronauts improved performance by 34%.  It’s a small increase, but hey, it’s an increase!  When you’re at work and you get that “2 o’clock feeling”, you just want to go lie down for awhile, right?  I get that feeling regularly and I know by just taking a 15 to 20-minute rest I’ll be able to bring myself back into focus and keep working.

The third benefit, and my personal favorite, is all about the psychology.  A nap can be seen as a luxury or a mini-vacation.  A lot of people don’t have the time or money for luxurious vacations, but a nap might be the next best thing.  It can be a quick way to get in some relaxation and rejuvenation.  When you give yourself time to take a nap, you’re allowing yourself to get some extra rest.  Maybe the rest you need to keep pushing through the day.  And even though it’s quick, you might even get a chance to dream of that luxurious vacation.

Why am I bringing up naps?  Because it’s getting closer to the holidays and it’s the perfect time to start making a habit of taking naps, even if it’s just on the weekend.  Whether you take a spontaneous nap or schedule one, it can be a good thing!  You might need that extra time for yourself and the extra rest to get through the rest of the year.  When are you going to take your next nap?