We as humans often make remarks about how great it would be to lead the life of a cat or a dog. While there’s something we could all do on a daily basis to become a little more ‘cat-like’ most of us are turning down the opportunity do so something that, according to PetMD, most cats spend over half of their lives doing. What is it? Napping.
There are countless benefits to the shameless act of napping, and five specific key benefits to napping after your workout.
1. It Just Feels Good
This one is fairly straightforward, but napping just feels good! If you’ve done a proper workout you should feel tired and ready for a nap anyways. There’s nothing better than cuddling up on the couch with a blanket mid-day and taking a quick little siesta. Aside from the physical and fitness benefits a nap provides, naps also increase alertness, boost spirits, lower stress, improve your memory, and many other things.
2. Faster Muscle Recovery
We all know that part of exercising is breaking down the muscle so that they can regrow bigger and better than before. The ideal nap time for muscle recovery is about 1.5 hours, but some nap is better than no nap. Even during an exercise cool down, you’re still utilizing muscle and prohibiting full, proper recovery. Giving your body a break and not utilizing any muscle while napping speeds this process up faster than one would think.
3. Human Growth Hormone Secretion
HGH very well may be the most coveted supplement on the market today, but why take it as a supplement when you can get it for free while napping! Aside from building muscle, human growth hormone has a vast array of benefit include metabolism regulation, improving heart function, and regulating your body composition – all beneficial for an active individual and a healthy lifestyle. The secretion of HGH is even greater when the body is at rest and in cycling through the path of the REM cycle. That being said, HGH secretion levels are higher with longer naps when a full REM cycle can be completed. Shorter naps will still see the benefits, but not with levels as high as those in longer naps.
4. Boost Immune System
Exercising really takes it’s toll on the body, and while a better immune system may not restore your muscle faster, it doesn’t help with an overall quicker feeling of recovery post-workout. Yet again, napping has been proven to boost your immune system through increased production of immune-regulating molecules and better norepinephrine levels according to a study done at Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité in France.
5. Lower Blood Pressure
With the constant battle in this century to lower our blood pressure, most people would be thrilled to know that a study done by the Europen Society of Cardiology showed that midday naps can lower your blood pressure by as much as 6% Even though 6% may not be huge, it’s enough that your disk of any form of cardiovascular incidents is lowered by up to 10%, which is huge. In correlating news, naps were also found to improve overall heart health as well.
6. Improved Fat Loss
Yep, laying around taking a nap can help you burn fat. Not sure it gets any better than that. even though most bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing, digestion, and many others slow down while we nap, metabolism is hardly affected. Your metabolism will drop slightly, but napping immediately after a workout can actually boost your fat loss from a cardio workout than just a normal cool down and return to normal activity would.
7. Get Back To Working Out Sooner
Chances are that if you’re reading this article you’re not looking for a reason to justify napping, but the benefits of napping to those living an active lifestyle that workout and exercise on a continual basis. Giving your body more time to recover, especially so soon after a workout, means the sooner you can get yourself back on the treadmill or back to setting your new PR on the bench.
So there you have it, who would have thought that something many Americans have actually become ashamed of doing could be so beneficial. You’d be surprised what could happen if you start building time to nap into your daily workout routine. Even a quick 20-30 minute nap could leave you with results you’d be surprised to see. Stop spending money on 5 Hour Energy and Red Bull (we all know they aren’t good for you anyways) and try swapping it out with a nap. While we highlighted the benefits specific to our field and exercise, a quick Google search will lead you to a slew of other benefits to be gained by napping. So time to channel your inner cat, stretch those legs, and get napping.