[su_dropcap style=”default” size=”3″ class=””]O[/su_dropcap]ur bodies crave sleep—they need it—they depend on it. Yet, despite the fact that we have long known the benefits of sleep, Gallup reports that fewer and fewer Americans are getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep our bodies naturally need. And the results of national fatigue are causing a ripple effect on our health: our weight, our stamina, and even our intimacy are negatively impacted by missing out on sleep.
[blockquote type=”intext”]“Poor sexual stamina or lack of sexual appetite … may be the result of low testosterone levels that are associated with lack of sleep.”[/blockquote]
In previous posts, we have looked at the “limitless” ways our bodies react to power naps and how napping can also make us feel happy. However, naps can improve our health and wellness. Here are a few ways napping can help keep us physically fit with napnook’s continuation of the Top 10 Benefits of the Power Nap, 7-9:
7. Power napping enhances nighttime sleep
Believe it or not, one of the biggest benefits of a power nap is how it improves our overall ability to sleep! A short nap can have a powerful effect on those suffering from insomnia or even normal levels of disrupted sleep. As Dr. Weil of Healthy Aging explains, power naps reduce our fatigue throughout the day, which, in turn, helps restore and regulate our energy levels.
To nap successfully, just remember BLT: Brevity, Location, and Time. Brief power naps of about 10-20 minutes tend to work best, as they provide the rest we need without resetting our internal clocks. Location is essential, too: laying down in a dark space tells our bodies to relax far better than putting our heads down on our desks or reclining in a lounge chair. Lastly, remember to check the hour of the day you’re napping, because naps taken closer to bedtime (after about 4pm) tend to interfere with sleeping patterns.
8. Power napping maintains healthy body weight
Being sleep deprived can have major implications for body weight. The National Sleep Foundation finds that hospital visits for sleep-related issues has increased over 400% over the last 20 years—which coincides with the staggering jump in obesity rates in the U.S. over the same period. Research by Case Western Reserve University has shown that those who are unable to get a consistent amount of good sleep have a lowered metabolism and an increased inability to regulate glucose levels.
Naps can play a significant role in curbing weight gain. According to experts at the University of Chicago, a lack of sleep makes the body “metabolically groggy.” In other words, even fat cells need sleep in order to function properly. When we don’t get the rest we need, studies show, maintaining an ideal weight is even harder. In addition, sleep helps release leptin, the hormone that tells your body to stop eating. All of this means that napping can help reset your fat cells and make you feel more full.
9. Power napping helps boost sexual health and stamina
Sexual virility is a great indication of how well our hormones are functioning. Poor sexual stamina or lack of sexual appetite could point to an issue with the body’s hormone regulation. For men in particular, this may be the result of low testosterone levels that are associated with lack of sleep. A study by the University of Chicago demonstrated that young males who slept less than five hours a day had the testosterone levels of men 15 years older—a finding that indicates just how important sleep really is to sexual health.
There are countless reasons health issues persist. However, some of the top health problems facing Americans today have a direct correlation with lack of sleep. Since we many times struggle to get the recommended seven to nine hours of rest per night, improving our health may be as simple as planning for a restful nap during the day. By grabbing a pillow and finding a darkened area, we can see improvements in weight, sexual health, and even nightly sleep patterns.
How have you felt the health benefits of a power nap?