Many cultures have adopted the ritual of napping however, for most of us living in Australia, napping is a luxury that many can’t afford.
We all know what that afternoon slump feels like, but instead of giving ourselves permission to take a nap, we instead caffeinate or reach for a sugary snack.
Professor Jim Home from the Loughborough University believes that napping is actually part of our DNA and that humans are designed to have two periods of sleep a day- a short sleep in the early afternoon and a longer sleep at night.
Researchers have also started looking into the effects of napping and have found that naps help-
- Maintain hormone balance
- Aid in cell repair
- Promote better heart function
- Increase life expectancy
- Keep you more active
- Improve alertness and memory retention
- Enhance creative insights
While napping appears to have amazing health benefits, researchers were surprised to find that napping also helped to promote creativity.
It was discovered that the right side of the brain, which is believed to be responsible for our creative ideas, was able to recharge and restore itself during a short nap.
This means that taking a nap can lead to an increase in imagination, visualisation and also thinking about the bigger picture.
It is also believed that dreaming helps to stimulate creative and imaginative ideas as well, even if the dreams are not remembered after waking.
In fact, researchers found that when people woke up from a nap they were more motivated, focused and more likely to bring fresh ideas and inspiration to the table.
It is interesting to also note that many inventive and creative ideas have been inspired through sleep.
The famous author, Mary Shelley who wrote “Frankenstein” had the idea and inspiration for her famous story come to her through a dream.
Stephanie Meyer who wrote the popular “Twilight” series, also stated that the idea for her book came to her through a dream.
Other authors, inventors, artists and thought-leaders from Einstein to John Lennon have also credited sleep as being key in bringing them inspiration and new ideas.
Besides the fact that the right side of the brain is restored during a nap, another study also found that sleep is important to help stimulate new ideas and gain a deeper philosophical insight into things.
But what if you don’t have the luxury of taking naps every day?
The good news for those who can’t take an afternoon nap, is that the same
results can be achieved my simply getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, when you give your body at least 7 to 8 hours of rest each night, it helps to recharge your brain, which can help you to tap into that creative potential.
It is also recommended to complete your most complex or thought-provoking tasks earlier in the morning to make use of those creative juices.
So tonight, as you rest on your comfy mattress, know that sleep is not only helping to replenish your energy, but it is also helping with those creative ideas.
Sweet dreams, Koalas.