Lifestyle

5 Reasons Why You Need to Nap More, According to a Doctor

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You're probably cursing your 5-year-old self for being such a tool about naps, since those things are hard to come by now that you’re an adult. Most workplaces frown upon them, and you can’t be bothered with midday sleep on the weekends when you're too busy watching Netflix 'til you go blind. But it’s time you start scheduling more naps, and Dr. Daniel Barone -- a sleep specialist at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, one of the nation's finest sleep medicine programs -- told us why. He chatted with us about the basic benefits of naps, as well as their optimal length (20-30 minutes) and time (between noon and 1pm). Here are five doctor-approved reasons you should use to convince your boss that sleep pods are an office necessity:

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1. You’re probably sleep-deprived

As Barone explains, we're currently living in a sorry state of sleep affairs. "We’re getting about an hour less sleep than we did 100 years ago," he says. "We have more stimulation nowadays -- TVs, computers, video games, really we’re a 24-hour society. I feel we’re not as focused on sleep health as we should be. And I think with all the things that are out there, people are putting a lower price on sleep than they should." That means you should be aiming for a solid bedtime each night, but napping can also help boost that sleep health.
 

2. It’ll improve your mood

Getting some quick shut-eye can put you in a better mental space, meaning you'll be more equipped to handle a surprise call from your evil landlord at 3pm. Barone says the proof is in severalstudies -- some of which go back to 1976.

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3. It can also reduce inflammation

Unlike coffee, naps don't really ward off melanoma, or any diseases for that matter. (At least as far as the scientific community knows.) But they have been proven to keep inflammation in check. "There’s an inflammatory marker that we look at in people’s blood," Barone says. "When people are sleep-deprived, the inflammatory marker increases. They've found that taking a nap reduces that back down."
 

4. It’ll make you more efficient

Next to the mood-enhancing benefits, Barone lists increased productivity as one of the most-cited perks of naps. And sure enough, you can read all about it in the scholarlypapers.
 

5. It MIGHT help you on the basketball court

Can a nap help you crush those smug, shockingly skilled accountants in your intramural league? Well, the jury's still kinda out. "In terms of athletic performance, it’s well known that many professional athletes will nap before their event," Barone says. "As far as the science behind it, I can’t say that I know any studies that have been done that looked at physical performance." Obviously that's not a yes, but we're going to go with Lloyd Christmas on this one, because in terms of pregame rituals, naps absolutely beat blasting Jock Jams.

Kristin Hunt is a staff writer for Thrillist, and wants that stock image dog's life. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.