10/03/2014 06:14 GMT | Updated 21/05/2014 14:59 BST

The Wonderful Health Benefits Of A Sneaky Nap (INFOGRAPHIC)

Naps may seem like a naughty indulgence but the health perks of a quick sleep mean people are starting to take it a bit more seriously.

So how great is National Napping Day - an actual (unofficial) holiday that celebrates the wonderful benefits of an afternoon snooze?

Sleep expert and yoga guru Lisa Sanfillipo advises: "To have a good afternoon nap- start with a simple breathing practice like the 'ocean sounding breath' you'd do in a yoga class- and begin to lengthen the exhalation inhaling for a count of 3 and exhaling for 4, gradually increasing to inhale for 3 exhale for 6. This slows the heart rate, decreases tension and stress in the body and calms the mind preparing you for a better nap, short rest or meditation."

The trick, says Lisa, is to keep it short.

"Naps are best between about 3 and 4pm when the circadian rhythms of the body based on exposure to light mean we take a natural energy dip. Our bodies are perfectly programmed for a short nap of about 10-15 minutes or a brief 20 minute meditation."

Take a look at our infographic that provides a bite-size explanation of why naps rule:

Sleep is associated with a variety of health benefits, but here are a few additional ones naps can do for you.


See Also:

Sleep Tips: Thinking You've Got A Good Night's Sleep (Even If You Didn't) Can Help Your Brain

How to Sleep Your Way to the Top - Literally