19 reasons to take a nap

Need an excuse to sneak in a nap this afternoon? We've got enough to last you weeks

Ellen Michaud with Julie Bain

19 reasons to take a nap

Yeah, we know. You didn't sleep well last night. So why not take a nap?

Studies show that not only will you feel better almost immediately, says Sara Mednick, PhD, a sleep medicine researcher at the University of California at San Diego and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, but a daily nap of between 20 and 90 minutes before 4:00 pm will also increase your mental performance, reduce your chances of gaining weight, and make you feel a whole lot more like having sex after dinner than you probably do now. What's more, it won't affect your nighttime sleep.

All told, a nap, according to Dr. Mednick, will:

• Increase your on-the-job alertness by 100 percent
• Sharpen your thinking so you make more accurate judgments and better decisions
• Ramp up your productivity
• Regenerate skin cells so you look younger
• Increase your sex drive
• Help you lose weight by altering metabolism and shifting chemicals that affect appetite
• Reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular problems
• Lift your mood by bathing your brain in the neurotransmitter serotonin
• Speed up your ability to perform motor tasks, like typing, operating machinery, even swimming
• Improve your accuracy—in everything
• Improve the way your body processes carbs, which reduces your risk of diabetes
• Sharpen your senses so you take in what's important in your environment—and screen out the 24-hour culture chatter that surrounds us
• Put your brain into its creative gear so you can come up with fresh ideas
• Trigger a naturally occurring hormone that blocks the destructive chemicals produced by stress
• Boost your ability to learn something new—and, better yet, remember it
• Zap the need for drugs like caffeine and alcohol to manipulate your mood and energy level
• Relieve migraines
• Improve your nighttime sleep by eliminating that wired feeling and thus shutting off the brain chatter
• Make you feel good all over

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Sleep to Be Sexy, Smart and Slim, Reader's Digest

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