No, the nap does not only concern the elderly who have eaten too much. Author of the book “Praise of the siesta”, polytechnician and passionate about preventive medicine, Bruno Comby has understood this for a long time. A wealth of advice for a break at the right time.
10 good reasons to take a nap
1. Because it’s simple to do
Nothing is easier than taking a nap. Here are the steps : closing your eyes; maximum relaxation of all muscles; slow, deep breathing; let a feeling of calm and well-being settle in. This sensation is linked to the appearance of alpha-type electric waves in your brain. They are particularly beneficial by their relaxing dimension. Don’t hesitate to stretch at the start or after your nap. Get up slowly.
2. Because the ancients knew its virtues
As Jacques Chirac nicely underlined in the preface to Bruno Comby’s book: “Rest is a serious matter, the quality of which conditions our existence. Many religions have made sleep sacred, of which Charles Péguy wrote that he is “the friend of God and of man”. The ancients knew that the key to dreams is also that of balance and happiness, and recommended the practice of napping. “
3. Because animals do it too
“ Almost every animal on Earth takes a nap . For example, let’s take a look at the pets we know best: dogs and cats. Several times a day, and especially after the meal, they go to bed and rest. When an animal needs to recover because it is tired, it lies down and sleeps. Animals are gifted with a form of natural wisdom that makes them sleep or eat when they need it. “
4. Because it’s so good… take the time
By doing too much without taking a break, you often lose competitiveness. “In fact, we have the time we want to take and it is up to us to organize ourselves to have time for ourselves. We can all find a time in the day to take a nap, if only for ten minutes, if we really want to. “
5. Because it’s even better when you breathe deeply
Here’s how to do it: first, clear your airways before you start, loosening your tie and the first or – let’s be crazy! – the second button on your shirt. Blow your nose to clear your nostrils. Sit down for a nap, close your eyes and preferably breathe through your nose, deliberately slowing down your rhythm, both inspiratory and expiratory. If your health allows, take breaks of a few seconds (by air retention) alternating empty lungs and full lungs, a bit like apnea. This “deep breathing” technique even allows you to relax without closing your eyes , for example during a work meeting.
6. To hold on
A short nap in the early afternoon (between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.), after the possible post-lunch pump, increases attention and maintains, or even improves, intellectual performance for the next two and a half hours . For those who lack sleep due to shift work, a nap relieves and reduces drowsiness.
7. Because 10 minutes is enough
The calibration of your nap naturally depends on your state of fatigue, generally linked to that of your night. Studies agree on the restorative effects of a ten-minute nap (flash nap). Important file, strategic meeting, drive, it is up to you to attack with a rested head. Please note, however, that daytime sleep greater than half an hour can have the opposite effect. One can wake up tired, even “stuck”, with a nap longer than 30 minutes, and the sleep of the following night may be disturbed.
8. Because the nap releases our inner genius
Access to our creativity is often lodged in our unconscious. A nap allows you to have free access to this unconscious and can even make you conscious after rest. Among the most well-known “ power-naps ” followers : Albert Einstein; Victor Hugo; Leonardo DeVinci ; Winston Churchill; Jacques Chirac; John Fitzgerald Kennedy; Barack Obama; Napoleon Bonaparte, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Salvador Dali…
9. Because it regulates our norepinephrine level
According to Agence France Presse, a scientific study published in the United States in the journal Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has confirmed the benefits of a nap, even a short one, on the level of stress or the immune system in men who have not slept than two hours the night before. According to this study, taking a nap restores the hormone and protein levels necessary for inner well-being in the body. Scientists have found that noradrenaline levels return to normal after a nap. Norepinephrine is the hormone that promotes attention, learning and stimulates response to reward signals: the greater our sensitivity to norepine, the better we feel in our bodies.
10. Because it can make you smarter
The siesta – from the Latin sixta – etymologically indicates the sixth hour of the day after dawn. Man is thus genetically programmed to sleep at least once a day in the middle of the day. To rest a little is also that: knowing how to let go of the control of your thoughts to accept to merge in this great ocean that is the human brain in order to soothe the interior storms. By also favoring memorization, the nap makes us available to integrate new data. Some studies even point out that a 20-minute nap can increase our intellectual faculties by 20%.