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napping

So, it turns out taking regular power naps can actually make us happier. 

In a recent study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire, researchers asked over 1,000 participants to rate their happiness levels and note whether or not they napped throughout the day.

The subjects were then divided into three groups – non-nappers, short nappers and long nappers.

Results found that approximately 67 percent of short nappers claimed to feel happy, while just 56 percent of long napper and 60 percent of non-nappers said the same. 

According to Red Online, Richard Wiseman, Psychologist Professor at the university said:

"Previous research has shown that naps of under 30 minutes make you more focused, productive and creative, and these new findings suggest the tantalising possibility that you can also become happier by just taking a short nap."

"Similarly longer napping is associated with several health risks and again, this is in line with our results."

Short 'power' naps actually come with a whole host of health benefits. 

A separate study carried out by NASA found that 26-minute naps could boost alertness by up to 54 percent. 

We won't argue with those statistics. 

Professor Wiseman also stressed the need for workplaces to provide quiet napping areas for their employees.

"A large body of research shows that short naps boost performance. Many highly successful companies, such as Ben & Jerry's and Google, have installed dedicated nap spaces, and employees need to wake up to the upside of napping at work."

Now, there's an idea we can definitely get behind. 

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For anyone under the age of four, napping in public can be a real struggle.

Whether it's a packed Luas, or a sterile waiting room, it's not easy to find a comfortable place to get those Zzzz.

Not content with this utter nonsense, one woman has taken it upon herself to banish this problem for good.

Simone Giertz (AKA our new favourite person), has just invented the full-body mattress.

The genius innovator simply cuts a large piece of foam in the shape of her body, then secures it in place with straps around her waist, legs and head.

Now, we'll be honest, it looks a bit ridiculous.

 

at the office

A post shared by Simone Giertz (@simonegiertz) on

However, we're willing to look past this one tiny flaw in order to appreciate its endless potential.

What's more, Simone has even designed a detachable cape for 'snuggling', because what good is a nap without a blanket to cuddle into?

The bizarre product has certainly stirred up some conversation online, with many sceptics questioning its practicality.

But, for the most part, people have been praising Simone for her solution to this very real, everyday problem.

We couldn't agree more, Jean. 

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If you're the type of person who regularly wakes from a short nap feeling like you could take on the world, then the latest news from the world of science may not surprise you.

According to researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, people who take naps are generally more contented than their counterparts who fight the urge to grab 40 winks.

Commenting on the findings, psychology professor Richard Wiseman said: "Previous research has shown that naps of under 30 minutes make you more focused, productive and creativity."

"These new findings suggest the tantalising possibility that you can also become happier by just taking a short nap," he added.

However, it's important to note that the longer you nap does not guarantee more contented periods in the aftermath.

Following a study conducted at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, researchers established that 'short nappers' were happier than 'long nappers' or, indeed, 'no nappers'.

So, go nap… but don't pass the 30-minute mark.

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Finally! Some sound advice that gives us loads of reasons to get back into bed and snuggle up under the duvet.

Between work, school and college, most of us unfortunately don’t have the time to pop home during the day to take a comfortable nap. And besides, even if we did the chances are there would be SOMEONE nearby telling us to get out of bed.

But a daytime nap doesn’t need to be hours long. In fact, naps from as little as 15 minutes can help in a big way.

Here are five different napping durations and the benefits of each one.

15 to 20 minutes

These great little power naps work wonders for boosting your alertness and concentration. So if you feel your eyelids getting heavy in the middle of studying or a work day, it may be a good idea to sneak off somewhere for 15 minutes and you’ll be raring to go by the time you get back.

30 minutes

A half an hour snooze can counteract the negative effects that we suffer after a bad night’s sleep.

45 minutes

Sleeping for those extra few minutes can actually help to improve your memory and lower blood pressure.

60 minutes

An hour’s shut eye can improve your working memory and will allow you to be as energetic for the second half of your day as you were for the first – great if you have an hour to spare between work and going out to an event.

90 minutes

Of course the problem here is actually finding the time. But if you can, an hour and a half of sleep during the day can help to restore energy and relax your muscles. 

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This is one study we can definitely get on board with!

We've all been there – sitting in the library or at a desk as your eyelids begin to get heavy and you know you are about to nod off.

Thankfully, we now have the perfect answer for your parents if they’re telling you to get out of bed in the middle of the day and to start studying.

A new study has been published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences titled “Napping to modulate frustration and impulse control,” which, as the name suggests, found that short naps can help adults control their frustration.

Researchers asked 40 participants to complete a set of really annoying tasks, such as drawing geometric shapes by hand – and really carefully too. After the tasks, some of those partaking took an hour-long nap while others had to stay awake.

When the participants returned to the tasks after the hour, those that had slept were far less irritatable than those who had stayed awake. 

The study concluded that the “emotional control may become impaired from wakefulness that builds across the day, and that napping may be an effective countermeasure.”

So, there you have it. Day-time napping will actually improve your frustration levels and therefore your concentration – although we wouldn’t try this tactic with your teachers to get out of class just yet! 

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Whether you're sleeping off your Christmas dinner or trying to get an energy boost before a big night out, napping is a great way to recharge those batteries.

Beware though, because if you time your nap wrong or sleep for too long you could wake up feeling groggier than if you'd just stayed awake.

Beat your tiredness with these five napping tips!

1. Choose afternoons where possible
Obviously a nap is not always going to be an option in the afternoons, but daylight hours are prime napping time. The Spanish have the right idea with their siesta, as experts believe our body is programmed to have a natural afternoon slump. 

2. Plan ahead
If you know you're going to be up late working (or partying), planning a nap beforehand is a great way to improve alertness and keep you energised. Research has shown that naps of an hour or more can actually improve our brain function for up to 24 hours, even without a full night's sleep. Win!

3. Time it right
If your plan is to take a short cat nap, aim for between 10 and 20 minutes. Any longer and you'll wake up feeling groggy and fuzzy-headed, which we doubt was the aim!

4. Use caffeine to your advantage!
Downing a quick cup of coffee just before you lie down is a great way to optimise the energising effects of both caffeine and rest. A cup of coffee takes around 20 minutes to lift your energy levels, so by the time you wake up from your nap you'll be raring to go!

5. Relax your mind
If you find it impossible to drift off during the day or early evening, use meditation techniques like breathing and calming visualisations to soothe your mind. Not only will you fall asleep quicker, but you'll wake up feeling more positive and relaxed.

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Sometimes our day just gets the better of us. Maybe it’s a lack of sleep or a change in routine, but by 2pm you’re feeling like you’d happily go straight back to bed and cancel all future plans, forever. In these cases, an afternoon nap can be a total game changer.

Research has recently shown that a “coffee nap” is the ultimate strategy for a quick snooze to boost alertness. By drinking a cup of coffee just before you lie down, you’ll really feel the benefits upon waking. The effects of caffeine are often held back by adenosine, another chemical in our body that causes drowsiness when we are awake. When we are asleep, our adenosine levels drop and our good friend caffeine can do his work. Hurray!

Here are some other top napping tips to ensure you’re raring to go after a snooze:

Plan a nap
If you know you’ll be up late or have a very busy evening ahead, be tactical and plan a nap for sometime between noon and 4pm. That way you’re boosting your body’s energy before you even begin to feel sleepy.

Keep it short!
Set yourself a 30 minute time limit. Any longer than that and your cat nap will turn into a deep sleep and you’ll just wake up groggy. If you’re seriously tired and have the time, try 90 minutes. That’s the average length of a sleep cycle, so you’ll still wake up refreshed.

Napping not an option? Get outside instead
A brisk walk outside, even for 10 minutes, can really wake you up and leave you feeling more alert. This might also be a little easier to squeeze in during office hours!

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