Are Afternoon Naps Healthy?
The first question you want to ask yourself is, why do you need a nap? Is it because you feel stressed, or is your body feeling drained?
Once you answer either of these questions, you’ll figure out if your reason to nap is valid or not.
Myself, I mostly feel drained after a few hours upon waking. My nap is usually from 12:30 PM to about 1 PM. This 30-minute power nap rejuvenates me to the point of being able to start working again. My feeling on are afternoon naps healthy is that they are very beneficial.
The reason I take naps is that I’m on chemo. This really tires my body out. So to combat that tiredness, I take out some me time to get a good 30-minute nap.
In my opinion, are afternoon naps healthy? I would say they are definitely healthy. Upon waking after a 30-minute rest, I feel recharged. Not only am I ready to tackle the situation at hand, but I also feel like I receive extra energy to keep dealing with what the day will throw at me.
Some people find it hard to take naps. We have done a blog post on tricks that work to help you fall asleep. Check it out. It might just help with your napping ability.
Here are some reasons others find benefit in taking naps:
- Afternoon Fatigue Is Lifted – do you ever experience that afternoon slump when you feel like you just want to drop off to sleep? I do. Once I take my nap in the afternoon, I can generally avoid that slump.
- Increased Alertness – napping has known to increase alertness. When a person is tired, they make poor decisions. But once a person is recharged, they are ready to face whatever is thrown their way. The increased alertness helps them to stay on their feet.
- Mood Improvement – as a person who may have suffered a poor night sleep, you know exactly what the day may look like after not getting enough sleep. Having a nap can take away the irritability of not having had proper sleep at night.
- Improved Performance – our mind if not rested well enough, will have poor performance. This poor performance comes from a lack of proper decision-making skills. Our decision-making is profoundly affected by the sleep we get. It’s during sleep that a lot of decisions are processed. So having a nap may help you perform better by making better decisions.
- Quicker Reaction Time – as most of you may know when our body is lacking sleep, our reaction time is definitely slower. Have you ever noticed a person walk a straight line when they’re drunk? Probably not. This is the exact phenomenon that takes place when we lack sleep. Our thinking becomes blurred due to the fatigue we experience. Afternoon naps helped to lift away the fatigue so we can have better reaction time.
- Better Memory – definitely, our memory improves after having a good nap. If there’s any inkling of tiredness in us, our memory gets affected. This means that we are making decisions based on things we can’t remember. Can you imagine making a decision where you can’t even remember what you were supposed to be focused on?
- Manage Blood Pressure – there’s a thought that sleeping less than six hours could be linked to high blood pressure. But when we nap, we regulate some of our stress hormone, which then brings the blood pressure back down.
- Turn Up Your Immune System – Our immune system response turns up we get enough rest. When your body lacks the rest that it needs, the immune system tends not to function as well as it. All because it’s not getting the rest it needs to repair itself. An afternoon nap counteracts against the breakdown of the immune system by letting it rest.
- Make Better Food Choices – this is just another decision-making skill that gets affected. Many people who don’t have proper sleep make poor food choices, which leads to weight gain. By having a nap in the afternoon, we can make better food choices which will help our health in the long run.
- Flush Your Mind of Unhealthy Afternoon Thinking – our mind when we are awake is continuously thinking. There is no time where there is not a thought flowing through our head. Sometimes these thoughts can be harmful. To combat these negative thoughts, it’s important to have a nap where your mind will do nothing but rest. When the mind is resting peacefully thought flow gets flushed out. You wake up feeling completely refreshed with the new powerful thinking. Find out how to get rid of critical sleep hindering thoughts here make sure you get the best out of your napping time.
Types of Naps People Take
This nap is known as the power nap. This type of nap helps to boost your daily energy, focus, and provides mental clarity. It’s taken in the mid-afternoon between 1-3pm. This nap is a good option for you if you are the head of a company or your household. The nap itself is usually 20-30 minutes long.
The coffee nap involves obviously caffeine. This is when you drink a 6 to 8 ounce a cup of coffee. You want a regular 90-100 mg of caffeine in it, not more than that. Find a place where you get an effective nap, but make sure it doesn’t last over 20 minutes. This nap is suitable for people who work under pressure.
New Mom Nap
When new parents are taking care of their young ones at home, they’re definitely not getting there at nightly sleep. This is the ideal nap for them. This nap usually takes place when the baby goes down for their afternoon nap. Many parents take this time to clean the house, and I would advise taking at least a well deserved 40-minute rest. This will help you have more patience when dealing with your fussy child. New anxious parents have too many thoughts floating in their heads. Read our blog post on how to sleep better when you have anxiety.
When sports performance is involved, you’ll find people who take a well-deserved sports nap. It’s usually 15 to 20 minutes but delivers strong physical as well as mental performance abilities. By giving yourself enough time to get the required nap, you skip right over the groggy feelings of being sluggish.
This type of nap is taken when you have plans for later on. Let’s say you have a party to go to, then this nap would be what would help you to stay up and enjoy the party. This nap is about 90 minutes. This is a great way to give yourself energy so you can celebrate whatever party you’re attending.
There are many cultures that have embraced the Siesta. The Siesta usually is 60 minutes long and often happens around 2:30 PM. This helps people, especially in hot countries, to deal with their day-to-day living responsibilities. Countries such as Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, and the Philippines are known to have Siestas. Quite possibly due to the hot weather they experience there.
Shift Work Nap
This nap works for those people who are sleep deprived due to working the night shift. People who don’t get their proper sleep at night can suffer from health issues. To help deal with their health issues, they will need to plan their naps around daytime strategically. People who do shift work, typically have 2 to 3 naps where they can get their full seven hours of sleep.
Teenagers have a very different circadian clock than most others. These individuals are biologically driven to stay up late, which then causes them to wake up late. They incur chronic sleep debt. Teens should nap at least 30 minutes after school.
This nap is suitable for those who travel. As you know, when you are traveling frustration builds up, which then induces the stress, which then slows down a person’s reaction time. Jetlag naps can help to bridge the gap between time zones. This nap is usually about 20-minutes long.
How to Have a Good Nap?
- Napping at home
The best way to have a good nap is to stick to a schedule. By sticking to this schedule, your body knows exactly when it’s time to rest during the day.
You set your circadian clock up, so your body starts to biologically recognize it is time to go down for a nap.
I never nap in my bedroom. I did that once, and I ended up sleeping for almost 3 hours because I was so comfortable due to it being my room. Now I nap on a mat in my living room.
There is no way I will nap on my couch. I want to keep my couch separate from any sleeping activities. It’s a relaxing place for my family, I would like to keep that way.
The best thing I find when I go down for a nap is to find a nice dark area in my home. As you know, light makes it a little bit more challenging to fall asleep. Closing blinds is very crucial when going for a nap.
What I find myself doing most times is hanging a large blanket over my window. This brings on the feeling of nighttime sleeping. Another thing you want to make sure you do is you turn down the temperature in the room you nap in.
Are you having a tough time napping when it’s hot outside? Read our blog on best weighted blankets for hot sleepers.
When you’re nice and snug in your blanket with the cool room, it’s much easier to doze off.
- Napping at work
Many workplaces are now starting to recognize the benefits of napping. Employee performance is definitely improved when a person has taken a nap. The employee even comes back with better problem resolving skills.
If you’re one of those who have an office, close your door and just take a nap. Some people who nap at work even take sleeping bags which they put under their desk for their nap later on.
Here you might not have the luxury of putting something on your window to make it dark in your office. But the beauty of napping is that our body can be trained to do it anywhere.
Final Word On Are Afternoon Naps Healthy
A nap in the afternoon is okay, but avoid sleeping for longer than 90 minutes. Unless you are a shift worker, who does the night shift.
Even though napping offers a lot of advantages to people of all ages, don’t let it replace with your nighttime sleeping. When we sleep at night, we go through different stages of sleep. And in each stage, healing takes place.
Read our post on what happens when you sleep too much.
If we over nap during the day, then we take away from the repairs that would happen when we get our regular sleep.
Share in comments below what is your belief about napping?