The Verdict on Napping: Is it Good or Bad for You?
There are some things that you just don’t appreciate until you’re older, and naps are at the top of that list.
Accepting that it’s nap time when you’re a kid is tougher than learning the truth about Santa Claus. But then, years pass, and suddenly it’s 2 p.m. on a workday, and you’d do anything for a few minutes of shut-eye.
Even if you can make the time to take a nap, the question remains– is napping good for you?
Our furry friends certainly seem to believe in the value of a good nap...
Some people will tell you that taking a nap as an adult is a great way to restore your energy and power through the rest of your day. Others will argue that napping can disrupt your sleep cycle, costing you even more precious sleep time in the long term.
We’re here to get to the bottom of these claims so you can know once and for all if you can justify taking that nap.
Are Naps Good for You?
It turns out we’re not the only ones wondering about the potential health effects of napping. Scientists have studied the ways that taking a nap affects people, and you might be surprised by their findings.
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that naps can be a healthy part of someone’s routine, whether they suffer from a sleep disorder or are completely healthy sleepers.
Some of the benefits of napping beyond reducing fatigue include improved memory, better mood regulation, and heightened alertness.
Keep in mind that constantly feeling like you need to nap during the day could be a sign that you’re not getting enough quality sleep at night, though. Changing your habits so you can get more uninterrupted sleep at night may be a better solution for you than napping.
How long is the ideal nap?
There’s plenty of debate over how long the ideal nap should be. And no, “as long as possible” is not one of the contenders, as much as we’d all like that.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends napping for about 20 minutes at a time and not much more or less.
If you nap for five minutes or less, you can’t expect to notice any significant benefits. Sleeping for more than 30 minutes isn’t ideal, either, since you can start to enter deep sleep. Waking up directly from deep sleep can make you feel groggy, and that pretty much defeats the purpose of the nap in the first place.
Ten to twenty minutes is the perfect nap time to recover some extra energy without suffering from that unpleasant grogginess.
Children generally need longer naps, though, since they have much higher sleep needs than adults.
When to Take a Nap
Not only do you have to worry about how long your nap is, but you also need to consider when to take that nap.
The ideal time for napping depends on your schedule, age, and other factors, but generally, the early afternoon is your best option. The Mayo Clinic suggests avoiding naps after 3 p.m. since they’re much more likely to interfere with your nightly sleep after that point.
Optimize Your Nap
If you start by choosing the right time to nap and the ideal nap length, you’re already in good shape. Still, there are a few other things you can do to get the most out of your nap.
Try to nap in a restful environment whenever you can. That means avoiding bright lights and loud noises as much as possible so you can get quality sleep. Build a relaxing bedroom space to get better sleep during your naps and at night.
A lot of people struggle to fall asleep quickly when they want to nap, costing them precious time. Listening to a podcast to help you sleep could make a big difference.
And, when in doubt, wrap yourself up in some lush eucalyptus lyocell sheets to bring your nap to the next level.
The perfect accessory to the perfect nap!