Even when they are exhausted, some of my friends refuse to take a nap in the middle of the day. They are concerned that it will disrupt their sleep at night. They claim that if they take a midday nap, they either lie awake at night wishing they could fall asleep, or they wake up at an inconvenient hour since they don’t require the sleep.
I’m surprised, too, that science has a lot to say about napping dos and don’ts, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of a midday nap.
Was it possible that I was being sluggish?
I took a nap every day for a month after leaving my corporate job. Nothing felt better than being able to relax in the comfort of my own house, rehydrate my body, and take a nap. As I drove away from work, my mind and body had had enough of 5:30 a.m. wake-up alarms, constant mental stress on the job, and feeling worn down (yet never leaving work at the office).
As a gift to myself, I gave myself a month’s worth of midday naps. My internal monologue kept telling me I was lazy after that month. I now see that was not the case. I was still sorting through and removing the familiar old voice that pushed me to push more, to do more, and to labor constantly like I had for so many years.
Now that I’ve been out of that work for a year, I pay attention to my body. If I’m tired or achy, I grab my nicest blanket and snuggle up on my sofa with my cat for a blissful nap.
Sleep Is Affected by Age
In investigations, researchers have discovered that naps are advantageous. Have you noticed that getting a decent night’s sleep becomes more difficult with each passing year? That’s accurate, becoming older has a negative impact on sleep. Naps assist with creative problem solving and cognitive thinking as well as balancing the quantity of sleep required.
A good night’s sleep increases memory, vitality, and mood. A 30-minute nap can help with weariness, irritability, low motivation, and memory! It’s no surprise that some business employees are now aware of these advantages. Google, for example, encourages employees to nap during the day by providing sleep pods or nap chambers!
What is the Best Way to Take a Quick Nap?
Healthy midday naps come with a few easy but crucial dos and don’ts.
#1: Find a relaxing location that is both chilly and dark. To have some fun, close the curtains or put on a sleep mask.
#2: Get rid of all the clutter in your head. Allowing your brain to rest takes practice, but it’s well worth it. When I feel my head fall into the pillow, I think that my brain is a muscle that I’m releasing and relieving tension from.
#3: Schedule your naps. THIS IS ESSENTIAL! According to Mayo Clinic studies, napping at the wrong time of day or for too long can have negative consequences.
Advice on napping
- If at all possible, take a nap before 3 p.m. After then, your ability to sleep at night may be harmed.
- Light will be blocked. This is when sleep masks come in handy.
- Naps should last 20 to 30 minutes. Set a timer to ensure you don’t oversleep! Power naps are short naps that last less than an hour. When you sleep for more than 20-30 minutes, you may fall into a deeper sleep, making it difficult to feel aware and ready to go when you wake up. Most people’s evening sleep is unaffected by short naps, according to Mayo Clinic research.
- If you allow naps to last longer than 60 minutes, the health advantages of naps decrease. Long daytime naps have been associated to (but not caused) major health problems (diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes).
When a 20-Minute Nap Isn’t Necessary
- If you have jet lag or have worked the night shift, you may need to schedule a longer nap time to catch up.
- You can try to save some sleep time if you know you’ll be sleep-deprived in the near future.
- When you’re sick, take longer and more frequent naps until you feel better.
- Babies and young children require naps that are longer than 20 minutes.
Long daytime naps have been related to major health problems, which surprises me. A short afternoon snooze, on the other hand, provides numerous health benefits! This is crucial information that is widely unknown, in my opinion.
A 20-Minute Nap and a Cup of Coffee
Take a Nap, Change Your Life, The Scientific Plan to Make You Smarter, Healthier, and More Productive was written by Dr. Sara C Mednick, PhD, a Harvard staff member. Nap a Latte is a phrase she coined. She recommends having a cup of coffee and then taking a 20-minute snooze.
Your slumber will be gone by the time the caffeine kicks in, and you will wake up refreshed. Here’s a sample from her book:
“Adenosine, the molecule that builds up throughout the day and makes you tired, will be reduced during the nap. (Remember, caffeine binds to that receptor in the brain flawlessly.) As a result, you awaken just as the stimulating effects begin to take effect.”
This piques my interest. I’m going to give it a shot.
Green Light to Naps
Now I’m free to nap whenever I want without feeling guilty or sluggish. You, too, have the green light. What a treat it is to have something so amazing bring out the best in us!
So, how about you? Do you like to take naps? Have you ever tried a 20-minute power nap before? What makes you feel more alert in the middle of the day? What are your thoughts on “Nap a Latte”? Let us know what you think about napping in the middle of the day.