To Obtain Mental Clarity, Embrace Afternoon Naps

They’re a great way to increase your happiness and productivity.

Matt Lillywhite
Nov 19, 2020 · 5 min read
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Photo by Alison Pang on Unsplash

I’ve been going to sleep in the middle of the afternoon for approximately six months. And looking back, my only regret is that I didn’t start taking afternoon naps sooner.

Some of you may think I’m exaggerating when I say that I love afternoon naps. But the truth is that I’m not. They’ve had an incredible impact on my ability to live a much better and more fulfilling life.

I’ve become a lot more creative, productive, and have the mental energy to accomplish all of my tasks throughout the day. The person I was just a few months ago is entirely unrecognizable.

Chances are, you want to do the same. You want to obtain mental clarity, so you can focus more intently on the things that matter to you. If that’s the case, taking an afternoon nap is certainly a great way to increase your overall level of happiness and productivity.

Here’s why.

If You Wake Up Feeling Tired, Taking A Nap Can Help You Sleep Better At Night.

Going to sleep in the middle of the day was one of the best decisions I ever made.

See, I used to wake up feeling groggy all the time. Imagine Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants. That used to be me. I hated waking up in the morning and getting ready for school or work. I was always tired and could never find the energy or motivation to feel excited about the upcoming day.

But one day, I decided to take a nap. The reason for my tiredness was watching movies until 2 am, so I found it difficult to focus on my work. However, those thirty minutes of sleep quite literally changed my life forever. Because since I began implementing naps into my daily routine, I’ve found it much easier to concentrate on whatever I need to do throughout the day.

Research shows that you don’t need to sleep for hours in the middle of the day to experience the incredible benefits of a nap. Quoting an article published by The Sleep Foundation:

“The best nap length in most situations is one that is long enough to be refreshing but not so long that sleep inertia occurs. Naps lasting 10 to 20 minutes are considered the ideal length. They are sometimes referred to as power naps because they provide recovery benefits without leaving the napper feeling sleepy afterward.”

Naps are incredibly awesome. I like to think of them as a superpower. They recharge your brain and enable you to focus more intently on anything that genuinely matters to you.

So whenever you feel tired during the day, consider going to sleep for a few minutes. The effect it’ll have on your sleep quality is profound.

Taking A Nap Isn’t Lazy. It Can Boost Your Memory And Productivity.

This might sound counterproductive… but hear me out.

Going to sleep in the middle of the afternoon is one of the best things you can do for your productivity. After all, it can have an incredible impact on your memory and overall level of cognitive function. Quoting an article published by The John Hopkins University School of Medicine:

“Scientists found that people who napped for 30 to 90 minutes had better word recall — which is a sign of good memory — than people who did not nap or who napped for longer than 90 minutes. People who napped for that golden 30 to 90 minutes were also better at figure drawing, another sign of good cognition.”

Since I started taking afternoon naps, it’s become a lot easier to write new articles in a much shorter amount of time. Also, my attention span is much better, and I can focus more intently on my work.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, student, athlete, or work a 9–5 job in an office. If anything you do requires a good memory and cognitive function, taking an afternoon nap is certainly a good habit to consider implementing into your daily routine.

If You’re Feeling Stressed, Taking A Nap Can Help To Make You Feel More Relaxed.

Or, at the very least, as cool as a cucumber. Because when you fall asleep, your body temperature decreases by several degrees. You sleep much better when you’re relaxed.

Like many people, I’ve dealt with a lot of stress over the past few months due to global events. But taking an afternoon nap every day has helped me to feel a lot more relaxed. The reason? Research suggests naps can help to improve emotional regulation and increase your ability to tolerate frustration. Quoting The Huffington Post:

“A 2011 study also found that those who napped for at least 45 minutes had lower blood pressure in response to psychological stress than those who did not nap.”

So whenever I feel stressed during the day, I’ll step back from whatever I’m doing and take a short nap. Once it’s over, I feel a lot more relaxed and energized. Also, the vast majority of any negative thoughts quickly disappear.

Try doing the same. If you feel stressed at any point during the day, close your eyes and take a nap for several minutes. The impact it’ll have on your mood is incredible.

Afternoon naps have already been embraced by many countries around the world. For example, several Mediterranean countries (such as Spain and Italy) take siestas during the afternoon to relax during the extreme heat.

The Japanese embrace a concept known as “hirune”: the art of sleeping during the day. Similarly, Google has installed “sleep pods” in its offices for staff requiring a nap. After all, research published by the BBC shows that, “employees effectively switch between business and break times, which overall contribute to a better working environment.”

Perhaps it’s time for America (and many other countries) to embrace afternoon naps on a much wider scale. After all, a few minutes of nap-time per day can massively improve sleep, memory, and emotional regulation. And if that’s not a great habit to implement into your daily routine, I don’t what is.

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