There are different schools of thought when it comes to daytime napping, so we thought we’d tackle the question: should you nap during the day?
What is a nap?
A nap is a short sleep that’s usually taken in daytime hours, in addition to the usual night-time sleep routine. Most people take a nap if they feel drowsy, or if they now they have a late night ahead of them. Naps shouldn’t be long periods of sleep. Around 20-30 minutes is best.
Should you nap?
Napping has been shown to have a number of benefits, if done right. They can:
- Help you feel more alert
- Increase your concentration and performance
- Reduce stress
- Improve your mood
- Help offset periods of less sleep
- Help you ‘keep going’ when you feel tired.
When should you nap?
Experts agree that the best time for a nap is between 2.00pm and 3.00pm. It’s around this time that we feel most sleepy, due to the natural dip in blood sugar and energy levels following lunch. Most people’s body clocks are programmed to feel a little sleepy mid-afternoon, making it more difficult to sleep earlier than this. Taking a nap after this time, may also interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.
Napping can benefit anyone, particularly those who have narcolepsy, (a sleep disorder characterised by excessively sleepiness and uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the day). It can also help those who do shift work, and people who begin to feel drowsy while they’re driving.
There are many countries around the world that build in daytime naps into their culture. In Spain, the siesta is a deeply ingrained tradition, with businesses often closing for a few hours to accommodate this daytime rest. Italy is very similar with businesses and public venues closing to make time for their riposo, which may start anywhere from 1.30pm and finish around 2.30-4.00pm. China’s workers also take a break around lunchtime for a nap.
Tips for good napping
While napping has its benefits, there are some things you need to know in order to reap the benefits.
- Try to nap at the same time each day, if you want to be a regular nap-taker.
- Avoid napping after 3pm as this may interfere with your nighttime sleep.
- Limit your nap to no more than 30 minutes. Sleeping longer than this may result in sleep inertia, which is a feeling of grogginess and disorientation from waking from a deep sleep, defeating the purpose of napping. Long naps can also make it hard for you to sleep well at night.
- Ensure you’re fully awake after your nap, before you operate machinery or drive a car.
- Remember that napping is no substitute for good quality sleep.
To nap effectively, ensure your sleep environment is set up correctly. Make sure you have a restful place to lie down, that filters out noise and light, and that the temperature is just right. Having the right mattress to suit your needs is a key part in aiding sleep.
We can help you nap effectively with our range of high-quality mattresses designed for everyone. So whether you’re young or old, you can grab a few minutes of shut-eye and reap the benefits of napping. Check out our range today, or come in-store and let us help you.