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When you were younger, you probably took a nap every day (even if that just meant closing your eyes and pretending to sleep). But it turns out those midday snoozes aren’t just a trick for the adults to get some peace and quiet—naps can actually have great benefits for your well-being. If you love gambling, you know that a NAP is another name for your surest bet—the one you know will win big. Find out why you should be betting on naps even outside the casino.
1. Naps make you more alert
According to the Guardian, taking a nap for just an hour can make you more alert for the next 10 hours. There’s even research that says that pilots taking in-flight naps while the co-pilot takes over improves their performance. (Probably best not to think about that next time you’re trying to doze off on the plane…)
Shorter naps are usually better for boosting alertness, so don’t get too cozy. But, if you work through the night, taking a longer nap—anywhere from half an hour to four hours—can keep you alert and kicking through your shift.
2. Naps make you ready to learn, improve memory, and make decisions
There are many studies focused on the link between learning and napping. Naps help boost logic skills and increase our patience and tolerance for stressful or frustrating situations. A study published in Neurobiology of Learning Memory found that napping during the day helped subjects’ memory and decision-making skills. Logic, memory, and patience can be key benefits when you’re after the jackpot at the casino!
3. Naps improve physical performance and health
The benefits of napping don’t stop with your brain. Your whole body could use some rest! The Journal of Sports Sciences has published research about the positive effects of napping on sprinting performance. Napping as part of a healthy sleep routine can also make you physically healthier. Nappers may have a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even excessive weight gain.
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4. Naps make you less grumpy
You’re never grumpier than when you’re tired, so it makes sense that a well-timed nap can boost your mood and keep you more cheerful. Taking a break from your day to take a nap also means you’ll get a little quiet time to yourself—which is a great way to reset and get ready for the rest of the day.
5. Naps reduce stress
Just like naps can cut down on your post-lunch funk, they can keep your stress level lower overall. If you’re often sleep deprived to begin with, taking naps can undo some of the stressful effects of sleep deprivation. A 2015 study found that sleep-deprived subjects who took two half-hour naps in a day had stress levels as if they’d never lost sleep.
6. Naps keep you looking good
If all the health benefits aren’t reason enough for a snooze, napping can also help you look younger and more attractive! Your body uses sleep to heal and rejuvenate, so a nap can help you look more energetic and healthy.
Hone Your Skills
Now that you’re convinced that napping is for winners, you might want to run right off to bed and bury yourself in the covers until dinnertime. But is that really the best way to nap?
Well, like making any bet, you get to choose the one that works best for you! Here are some tried and true tips from the pros.
Cat naps: Cats are masterful nappers. If you don’t have much time and need a little boost, a cat nap could be right for you. To avoid sluggishness after your nap, keep it under 20 minutes. Set an alarm or have someone wake you up to make sure you don’t sleep through the whole day (like a cat might).
Caffeine naps: If you really need a boost, why not double your bet? Caffeine takes around half an hour to kick in, so having a coffee or tea right before a brief nap can help you wake up more refreshed and alert.
Long naps: If you’re making up for lost sleep, taking a long nap for an hour or two can get you back to where you need to be. It can help to sleep in a room with natural light or on a couch (instead of your bed) to keep you from getting too cozy and sleeping the day away.