A good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy body and mind but what about those afternoon naps? This article will talk about the benefits of afternoon siestas!
We all love to sleep. Its one of the most peaceful moments of the day. But most of us don’t know the important benefits related to sleep. Apart from rebooting our system, in a way, it also helps in memory formation. In this article, we are going to talk about the overall benefits of sleep but also the power of taking naps in between.
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep plays a very important role as it helps crystalize emotional information, that we gather throughout the day. It also helps us control how we feel. When we are asleep, our brain is encoding information based on the experiences from the day. Which makes the act of sleeping extremely essential for preserving memories.
Emotional memories, researchers argue, are unique because of the way the influence our amygdala, our brain’s emotional core. This core is what makes our memories of wedding days or funerals or anything emotional, remembered carefully. Such emotional days are better remembered than other days.
A good night’s sleep is extremely good at transforming these experiences into emotional memories. That is why it is recommended that we get at least six-eight hours of sleep every day.
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Not All Sleep Are Equal
However, not all periods of sleep are equal. The sleep we get a night, the long 6-8-hour ones, are the ones in which we go through several phases of sleep. This is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is closely associated with our emotional memories. Researchers argue that more REM sleep makes people better at assessing other people’s emotional intentions and also in recalling emotional stories.
Another thing that happens when are in the REM phase is related to our Prefrontal Cortex. Prefrontal Cortex is the most developed part of our brain. Researchers also call this location of our brain where we have the impulse to keep calm and not react to things immediately.
When we are awake, this part of the brain keeps our emotions in check. But this connection is reduced when are in REM sleep. Our brain also paralyzes our body during REM phase, otherwise, we would be constantly moving, which could hurt us.
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Naps or Slow-Wave Sleep
But there are also other kinds of sleep which do not feature the REM phase. These are naps. Naps are also known as ‘Slow-Wave’ sleep and it’s usually the phase of sleep. It also helps consolidates memories. But are they effective in keeping our emotions in check as the REM sleep does?
Researchers in order to answer this did a study with children to see the effects of naps. The study found that the children who didn’t take naps were grumpier and mentally exhausted. And the children who took naps were, as the researcher called ‘cool as a cucumber’.
In adults as well, research has shown that afternoon naps help one destress and feel better during the day. Any stress or headaches or just normal issues of the day make the brain stressed, so afternoon naps help one feel better.
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The overall science of sleep is still complicated as research is still discovering new things. For example, a recent paper has argued that a longer duration of REM sleep leads to people getting depressed. The reason is not yet known but there are strong linkages.
This sort of findings just makes the overall phenomenon of sleep more complicated. But for now, what you should take away from this article is that sleep is essential for us. In the end, the best prescription for a heartache or a confused mind or a headache is to get a good sleep!
So, the next time your feeling low or feel stressed, try to take a nap. As science says it will help. Till then cheers and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits.
One of the most interesting finds that elucidate the role of community on human health and longevity.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers, mentions about this study. Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian born writer, worked for The New Yorker, has written many bestselling books.
The Roseto story
Roseto was a town near Rome in Italy where most of its earnings were derived from mining and quarrying activities. Since it was not profitable and arduous, its inhabitants were looking for a better place to settle down.
Around 1882 gradually people from Roseto started migrating to the US, especially to Pennsylvania. Situated near Pennsylvania close to Bangor town. Gradually after many came, they named the settlement as Roseto as most came from there only. Soon the place got developed and became a town.
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What was so special about the Roseto town near Bangor, Pennsylvania?
Stewart Wolf, a physician who taught in the University of Oklahoma, is essentially one who brought Roseto to notice. When talking to a local doctor he got to know that there was not even single case of a heart attack in Roseto. This came at a time in the 1950s when the heart attack was an epidemic in the US.
Interested in studying about the phenomenon, Wolf set up a team to understand what was going on. On studying the medical history of Roseto people they found out no cases of heart attack and overall all death rate to be 35 percent lower than death rate than the national average.
Moreover, it was observed that the community of Roseto had very little crime rate, no alcoholism and drug addictions. Looking for answers Wolf looked at their diet, genealogy, and habits.
The best found that some were obese, some smoked, other natives who settled in other parts of US were showing no anomaly. Only the people living near Bangor town in Roseto were living longer than everyone else.
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Then, what was the reason behind such a phenomenon?
With help of Bruhn, Wolf observed that Roseto was essentially a community. Since almost all of its members were migrants from Roseto town of Italy, the cultural ethos remained the same. The community was largely egalitarian.
People preferred living a joint family, three generations living under one roof. Community discourages wealthy from flaunting and helped those who were facing setbacks.
Not hard to imagined people from the town were convivial towards one another and maintained good relations with other. These were the reasons why they lived longer.
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Inferences you can draw
Community building promotes longevity and general happiness if based on sound ethos and beliefs which takes care of both who are at advantage and those with a disadvantage. We must talk, share and communicate with those around us. Build on healthier relationships to promote our own good and that of others.
In the age of privacy, we can use this to understand and rework our beliefs and ethics to better build a community based on sound principles as the way one sees it makes us live longer.