Five Health Benefits of Afternoon Naps

The HealthCentral Editorial Team | Aug 18th 2014

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They improve short-term memory

According to a new study, taking an afternoon nap can improve short-term memory in younger adults, but unfortunately not older adults. For the study, participants took afternoon naps and then were given a word-based memory test. The younger adults were able to remember more words after taking the nap.

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The decrease blood pressure

In the same study, researchers took the blood pressure of participants before and after a nap. In healthy older adults blood pressure decreased after napping. This was not true, however, for people with sleep apnea–they experienced an increase in blood pressure after napping.

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They improve alertness

A quick 20 -to 30-minute nap is great for short-term alertness. This type of nap will help you focus without the feeling of grogginess and will not affect your ability to sleep at night.

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They improve cognitive performance

Takiing a nap can not only restore alertness, but it can enhance performance and help your brain function better. One NASA study found that a 40-minute nap improved the performance of military pilots and astronauts by 34 percent and increased alertness by 100 percent.

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They increase happiness

Napping also has some psychological benefits. It provides an easy way to get some relaxation, rejuvenation and a boost of good feeling in your day. It can feel like a luxury and make you feel better.