Suggestions on how, when, and where to take a nap so as best to restore and rejuvenate –without interrupting nighttime sleep.
Taken from “To Nap or Not to Nap?” Sleep Savvy Magazine, May/June 2018 issue by Lissa Coffey: Better Sleep Council spokeswoman
Thomas Edison was so committed to napping that he set up napping cots throughout his home and laboratory for those times he wanted to recharge. Many other greats are known for napping as well: Leonardo DaVinci, Margaret Thatcher, and Eleanor Roosevelt all raved about and prioritized their power naps for a boost of energy.
Is there something to this theory that a daytime break can help us? Science shows that a quick nap can make us more alert, boost productivity, reduce stress, improve our mood, and even increase creativity.
Who wouldn’t want more of those advantages!?
However, research also shows that these benefits are only available to us if…
You guessed it, if you have gotten a good night’s sleep in the first place. A nap is no replacement for a good night’s sleep just like a workout is not a replacement for a poor diet!
I’m not a napper! What’s wrong with me?
Some people are nappers, and some are not. As much as I have always wanted to be one, it’s just not going to happen for me in this lifetime. Much of our napping preferences has to do with genetics. People who enjoy naps usually fall asleep quickly but not deeply. They wake up on their own feeling refreshed. Nonappers tend to sleep deeply if they doze off for a midday snooze. I speak from experience when I say this is a very disconcerting wake-up and leaves you feeling groggy and “out of it” for the rest of the day/evening. For some, a midday nap decreases productivity.
If you feel like you NEED more sleep during the daytime, pay attention to why. Daytime sleeping can be linked to elevated risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other ailments. It can also be a sign of depression. Daytime sleeping is the source of the problem, just the sign of a potentially underlying problem. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor to discover the reason for your daytime drowsiness.
Other keys to keeping energy up throughout the day include healthy nutrition and exercise.
If you suffer from insomnia or have trouble sleeping through the night, naps could worsen the problem. Some people experience “sleep inertia” which is a disoriented/groggy feeling upon awakening from a nap that can backfire and reduce their valuable output for the rest of the workday.
Here are Lissa’s tips for the best times and ways to nap:
- If You’re Sick and Coming Down with Something
- Keep Naps Between 15-40 minutes
- If You’re Working a Double Shift
- Best Time to Nap is between 2-3pm
- If You’ve Had a Poor Night’s Sleep the Night Before
- If You’re Reaching for a Coffee or Caffeine Throughout the Day
- On an Airplane, to Help Adjust to a Time Change
Lastly, meditation can be a great alternative for many for napping. Meditation has many of the same benefits as napping and you don’t have to be lying down. Close your eyes, focus on your breath and relax your muscles. If you end up drifting off to sleep, you probably needed it 🙂
Time Magazine: Is Napping Healthy?
Men’s Health: Is Napping Good or Bad?