Take a Nap, and You May Get More Creative

Scientists say that napping makes you more creative.

As if we needed another reason to love sleep.

Do you spend time every afternoon wondering if you should take a nap to help you get through the rest of the day’s work? Do you usually opt for another cup of caffeine instead?

We’re sharing here what a nap can do for you, so you’ll have all the information you need to make the right choice (hint: take a nap) next time.

Really? Take a nap?

Get over the idea that naps are for babies and old people only.

People of all ages all over the world nap, too. Napping is important in many cultures in a way it’s not so embraced here in North America. We can change that.

The idea that we sleep once a day for eight hours is a relatively new concept.

Think about it. Most of the mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers, meaning they sleep in shorter periods throughout the day. So why don’t we?

Professor Jim Horne from Loughborough University believes that human beings are actually designed to sleep twice a day, for a short while in the afternoon, and for a long while overnight. Not all scientists agree on this, but there’s mounting evidence to support the idea that naps are healthy for us.

Get over the guilt of taking time each day to restore yourself.

A nap can be a hard sell in our go-go-go culture, and especially in our go-go-go workplace culture. But you need to get over the idea that people who nap are lazy. Because some of the most impressive people you know are nappers, if only secretly.

Sure, it’s not a great idea to get caught napping at work unexpectedly, especially if your workplace is traditional. If you’ve got a lunch break, use the last half to get in a short bit of shut-eye in a private space.

If you think you can let your boss and co-workers know about your plan to get a few minutes of shut-eye after lunch each day, do so. Maybe you’ll inspire a few others. When your boss sees how creative you’ve become, they may well make afternoon naps mandatory for all.

Take a nap, and get more creative? Prove it…

Taking a nap recharges your brain power.

According to a US study, napping allows you to clear out your brain’s temporary storage space for facts.

Meaning, when you wake up, your brain is ready to receive and process new information.

39 young adults, all healthy, were divided into a nap group and a no-nap group. At midday, they were all given a task to complete, which required them to retain lots of information.

At 2pm, the group set to nap did so for 1.5 hours, while the no-nap group remained awake. At 6pm, they were all taken through some new tasks.

The group who napped performed better, and researchers concluded that this was because their short-term memory had been cleared enough that they could retain all the new information given in the evening tasks.

According to Dr. Matthew Walker, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California and leader of the study, "sleep not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before you took a nap."

That’s right. A nap can make you more alert – even smarter.

Your brain’s hippocampus is like your voice mailbox. When it’s full, it’s full. When you sleep, your brain moves the information stored in your hippocampus into your pre-frontal cortex, making your hippocampus open for more business.

When you sleep, your brain moves the information stored in your hippocampus into your pre-frontal cortex, making your hippocampus open for more business.

And since you’re most creative when you can wade through your thoughts easily, help yourself out by clearing yourself out with a nap.

Taking a nap increases your right-brain activity.

It’s generally accepted that your right brain is more chiefly responsible for governing creative tasks and your intuition, while your left brain handles analytical tasks and your logical reasoning.

And a recent study of 15 at-rest people shows that the right side of the brain experiences increased stimulation, while the left side remains quiet by comparison.

According to Andrei Medvedev, PhD, an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging and the author of this study, “the right side of the brain was better integrated.” And he and his research team suspect that this is because the right side of the brain is taking care of important “housecleaning” while at rest.

Need to see the bigger picture for something you’re completing later this afternoon?

Take a nap, and fuel the side of your brain poised to help you do just that. Let your right side consolidate your memories and transfer them to longer-term memory, so you’ve got more space and fresh perspective when you get back to work.

How to take a nap that will increase creativity…

Set aside twenty minutes in the afternoon. Keeping the nap short helps make sure you stop short of deep sleep, which is difficult to wake from. Too long of a nap leaves you feeling groggy, and can throw off your nightly sleep cycle.

If you are going to nap for more than twenty minutes, make it about ninety minutes. This way you get through a full sleep cycle. It’ll be easy enough to wake still, you’ll be even a bit more rested than you would be after a short nap, and you should be okay to sleep again when night falls.

Dim the lights to signal to yourself that this is rest time.

Set an alarm, so you won’t oversleep. If you’re using your smartphone as an alarm clock, place the phone far enough away from you that you won’t be tempted to check it before the alarm goes off.

Remove all other digital distractions from the room. The idea is to unwind uninterrupted.

Use a pillow and a blanket, so you can get comfortable.

If you’re at home, nap in your bed. If you’re at work, find a private place – like your car, or an unused conference space.

When you’re first lying there, practice some mindful meditation to help clear your brain on its way to a restorative short sleep.

We’re here to make your naps the best they’ve ever been.

You haven’t napped until you’ve napped on our amazingly comfortable memory foam mattress and pillow.

We offer a 100-night home trial. See if those 100 nights aren’t the best of your life. Get in 200 tries of our mattress and pillow if you take a nap on all 100 of those trial days, too.

Curious to try? Get in touch.