Are naps good for you? If you’re often feeling exhausted in the middle of the day and you’re unsure if you should take a nap, we have the answer. At some point, there is not enough coffee to get you through the day, and that is when a nap comes in handy to help you refuel your body. Keep reading, as we will guide you through the best naps and how to make the most out of them.
Should you take naps?
There is a common knowledge that naps are not good for you because you will feel even more exhausted and/or you won’t be able to sleep at night. This is both true and not true! If you follow a few simple rules of napping, you will benefit with them by getting more energized, relaxed, alert and productive. If you feel fatigued, tired, or didn’t get enough sleep, you should consider taking naps!
How can you make naps good for you?
If you want to get the most benefits out of napping, you should pick the best type of nap for you and avoid common mistakes (hint: napping for too long!). Follow these steps to understand why is napping important, how to nap properly and how to avoid feeling worse after!
1. Is napping important?
Napping has many benefits and can be important for many reasons for different people. Napping is important for your physical, cognitive and emotional functioning. When we feel tired, we will make more mistakes, our memory and judgment will be impaired, we will more likely get into conflicts and emotional outbursts, and even into accidents because of poor alertness. Napping can give your body a quick time out to refuel and prepare you to think clearly and efficiently.
Other than making yourself highly functioning, napping has also psychological benefits. Taking a nap can be a great way of reducing stress, taking a break from work, or to practice a meditation/mindfulness.
2. Types of naps
There are three types of naps: habitual, emergency and planned naps.
Habitual napping is a form of planned napping and naps usually occur every day at the same time, but not necessarily. Everyone can benefit from this kind of napping. If you have kids that sleep during the day, this is also the time you can get yourself some rest. Or, if you have breaks during work, you can spend this time resting. This can be an opportunity to use the time to rest, or to just take some time for you!
These naps are very important for people who get very tired or tired very suddenly. If you have a medical condition or doing a work that makes you too tired to continue, you should take an emergency nap. This is very important, so you don’t over exhaust your body or injure yourself if you are driving or working with heavy machinery.
This kind of napping is important if you need a lot of energy during the day. For example, if you plan activities that you will need a lot of energy for, or you are planning to delay your usual bedtime, you can get your rest I advance. The whole point of planned napping is that you get a nap before you get tired.
3. Common mistakes
Napping too long
The most common mistake people do is seeping longer than 30 minutes. Waking from deep sleep can cause sleep inertia that makes you groggy and disorientated. You should take 10-20 minutes naps, 30 minutes max. It’s wise to use an alarm clock to prevent over napping.
Napping at evenings
Naps that are close to bedtime can affect the quality of your sleep and leave you tired the next day. This creates a cycle of unbeneficial naps and tiredness.
Using naps for insomnia
If you have any kind of sleep disturbances, naps can help you to get through the day, but will not help you in the long run. If you use naps as a substitute for sleeping, you will only add fragmented sleep patterns and won’t get rest.
Not choosing the right environment
There is a lot of noise or the place is too bright, you may not get a quality nap. Also, if you’re taking a nap on your office chair or in the park bench, you may not get the needed comfort to get the most benefits out of a nap. You can help yourself with earplugs, sleeping mask or a cozy blanket.
4. How to get the best nap
Choosing the right nap for your situation and avoiding common mistakes are the first two steps to a quality nap. The time and length of naps are more individually conditioned, so we would advise you to experiment. See which time of the day you need the nap the most and how many minutes of napping will get you the most benefits.
If you have the option, try experimenting with the environment also. Some like to take naps with gentle meditation music, others need complete silence. You can take a nap in your bed, but do not stay too long in there because it can be difficult to get out of the comfy bed and get back to work! Find the room or environment when you feel calm, cozy and comfortable, but use it only for a nap, not for the rest of the day! 🙂
So, are naps good for you? Absolutely yes! Naps have many benefits and can improve your quality of life rapidly. If you follow these steps and listen to your body, your energy, mood, and productivity will shine! If you feel that you need a lot of naps constantly, or you still feel tired, chances are you could have a medical condition or sleep disturbances. In these cases, do pay a visit to your doctor.