Over the past few years, the science surrounding sleep has come on in leaps and bounds.

Indeed, you may well have either seen professor Matthew Walker’s brilliant TED talk entitled “Sleep is your superpower” or read Why We Sleep, his incredibly insightful and well-researched book on the subject.

In both, Walker describes the health benefits of a good night’s sleep. From decreased risk of various diseases and illnesses to improved learning and memory, seven hours of proper shut-eye can seemingly improve your general wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

Interestingly, there’s now a fascinating body of evidence that suggests an afternoon nap could offer similar benefits to body and brain.

Whether you manage to set aside 30 minutes for a power nap, or are able to settle down for 90 minutes to achieve a full sleep cycle, there may be some powerful benefits associated with grabbing some extra sleep during the day.

Here are just a few reasons as to why taking an afternoon nap might be good for you.

Feeling happier and more content

You likely know that grumpy, listless feeling you experience when you’ve had a long day, and how much better you often feel in the morning after a good night’s rest.

Indeed, it appears that you can achieve the same thing from a nap of just 20 to 30 minutes.

A clinical review published in Sleep Medicine Reviews and reported by the Independent showed that a nap of no more than 30 minutes could reduce stress and improve mood – although any nap longer than this half hour limit failed to provide the same effect.

According to health and wellness information site Be Brain Fit, this could be because sleep and napping can lower cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress, and increase serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood.

In a similar vein, a study available from the National Library of Medicine in the US also found naps to be effective in helping individuals to better regulate their emotions.

So, if you have a sense of the Tuesday blues or you’re in need of a pick-me-up ahead of a big afternoon meeting, a nap of around 30 minutes could provide valuable mood-boosting benefits.

Improved concentration throughout the day

You no doubt know that feeling around 3pm when your concentration nosedives, your creative tasks feel miles out of reach, and your productivity bumbles along until the end of the day.

Fortunately, it seems that a nap can combat these effects, boosting concentration and performance so you’re able to function at your best.

A NASA study comparing performance of crew members on long-haul flight operations provides valuable insight into how this helps.

Comparing one group who continued operating normally and another that had a 40-minute window to sleep in, the study found that the rest group displayed “improved physiological alertness and performance” over the course of the experiment.

Similarly, an article published by Psychology Today notes a 2009 study that found concentration was just as strong in the morning as the afternoon when subjects had taken a nap in between.

Additionally, as Matthew Walker points out as a long-term benefit of sleep, the study also noted that a nap could improve ability to learn and retain new information in the short term.

All this means that you may be able to even out the concentration deficit you might experience in the afternoons.

Naps also offer longer-term advantages

Alertness, concentration, and a general sense of feeling happier could be a great boon for improving the quality of your day-to-day life. But interestingly, the benefits of an afternoon nap can also last beyond the hour or so of slumber itself.

According to Be Brain Fit, regularly napping has been shown to reduce your risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease and stroke, as well as lowering the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

And, although napping doesn’t appear to solve a cumulative sleep deficit, Be Brain Fit also found evidence that shows it can help lead to fewer health problems associated with chronic insomnia.

So, aside from perking you up for an afternoon of work, regular naps may also be an investment in your longer-term health.

Get in touch

One thing that certainly shouldn’t be causing you sleepless nights is your finances. So, if you’d like help making your money work to suit you, please do get in touch with us at Cordiner Wealth.

Email hello@cordinerwealth.co.uk or call 0113 262 1242 to speak to an experienced adviser.