There isn’t much difficulty surrounding the concept of napping, but it may not be for everyone. Some people map out a specific time every single day to take a snooze (yes, just like kids do) to regenerate, while others try to nap and just can’t seem to tune out the world. You ultimately have to ask yourself whether or not napping is right for you. As you will find out, this decision isn’t as cut and dry as it seems.
Napping is a normal part of many cultures. The US is becoming a sleep-deprived nation because of poor sleeping habits or lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation can be due to an underlying condition such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, or depression. It’s important to acknowledge these as possible contributors to tiredness because napping won’t necessarily cure conditions like those. These conditions can lead to napping for too long or at the wrong time of day, which ultimately disrupts sleep at night.
A nap study has been linked to longer mortality rates, which is why some companies and colleges across the country are installing nap rooms that are designed to boost productivity. Sometimes catching a few ZZZs in the middle of the day is exactly what you need, especially if you want to increase alertness by avoiding caffeine. You don’t want a nap to backfire, though. A healthy nap lasts anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Anything longer than 45 minutes can result in grogginess, feelings of disorientation, or poor nighttime sleep patterns. Proper naps in the middle of the day, usually around lunchtime, will enhance alertness, overall performance, and can improve one’s mood.
Napping can heighten sensory perception and improve creativity because your mind reaches a relaxed state. When you nap your brain hits the reset button, allowing you to bridge gaps that you couldn’t in a tired state. The wear and tear of everyday life is not as intense if you nap. Naps slow down the pace, creating a momentary pause in a constant on-the-go lifestyle, and result in improved cognitive function.
Despite these positive effects, it’s important to consider the downfalls of napping as well. For some people, napping can result in overall laziness or lack of ambition. These stigmas usually indicate naps that have lasted too long. Long naps are an indication of inexperienced nappers (yes, there are such people) or people who don’t get a proper night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep allows for less stress and promotes wakefulness, so a nap is the opportunity for a literal rest during the day that can recreate alertness.
There are people who plan naps or habitually take naps, and they are able to do so because naps are part of their daily routines. If you feel fatigued during the day, take a load off and create a peaceful environment to sleep in. Kick your feet up on the desk and lean back in the chair. It’s important to feel comfortable to promote restfulness. Be sure to set an alarm, though, so you don’t nap too long. If you try napping and it doesn’t refresh you, then maybe it isn’t your thing. Everybody is different, so find a routine that best suits you and helps you feel restored.