Napping isn’t just for children. If you’re sleep deprived or just looking for a way to relax, you might be thinking about taking a nap.
“Napping at the wrong time of day or for too long, can backfire, though. You’ll need to understand how to get the most out of a nap. Get to know the pros and cons of napping and the best way to take a nap,” says Donovan Everitt, owner of Cape Town-based hand crafted mattresses company Attica Beds.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of napping?
Napping offers various benefits for healthy adults, including:
- Reduced fatigue
- Increased alertness
- Improved mood
- Improved performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory
Napping isn’t for everyone. According to Everitt, “Some people simply can’t sleep during the day or have trouble sleeping in places other than their own beds, which napping sometimes requires.” Napping can also have negative effects, such as:
- Sleep inertia. You might feel groggy and disoriented after waking up from a nap.
- Nighttime sleep problems. Short naps generally don’t affect nighttime sleep quality for most people. However, if you experience insomnia or poor sleep quality at night, napping might worsen these problems. Long or frequent naps might interfere with nighttime sleep.
When and what is the best way to take a nap?
You might consider making time for a nap if you:
- Experience new fatigue or unexpected sleepiness
- Are about to experience sleep loss, for example, due to a long work shift
- Want to make planned naps part of your daily routine
To get the most out of a nap, follow these tips:
- Keep naps short. Aim to nap for only 10 to 30 minutes. The longer you nap, the more likely you are to feel groggy afterward.
- Take naps in the afternoon. The best time for a nap is usually mid afternoon, around 2 or 3 pm. This is the time of day when you might experience post-lunch sleepiness or a lower level of alertness. In addition, naps taken during this time are less likely to interfere with nighttime sleep. Keep in mind, however, that individual factors – such as your need for sleep and your sleeping schedule – can also play a role in determining the best time of day to nap.
- Create a restful environment. Nap in a quiet, dark place at a comfortable room temperature and few distractions.
“After napping, be sure to give yourself time to wake up before resuming activities – particularly those that require a quick or sharp response,” says Everitt.
Napercise is the new fitness craze redefining what it means to power nap
For some, group exercise classes are a way to beat fatigue and pump up your energy levels, and for others, you wish you could still be in bed sleeping instead of waking up at the crack of dawn to sweat. Now, there’s a fitness class that both groups of people can support. “Napercise” is a 45-minute group fitness class that comprises, well, napping.
David Lloyd Clubs, a UK exercise studio, is testing out the napping class concept designed to help busy people combat fatigue and tiredness. If you’re questioning why you would voluntarily spend money to have a slumber party with a group of strangers when you could just take a nap at home, it’s the vibe of the studio that makes all the difference. The room is set to an ideal temperature for slumber and is equipped with single beds, blankets, and eye masks. According to the studio’s website, the afternoon sleep session is designed to reinvigorate the mind, the body, and even burn the odd calorie.
While unfortunately Napercise is only available in the UK, we have a feeling the trend is going to make its way to our shores soon.