Wake Up to the Pros and Cons of Napping
by Tracey Pollack
It’s not only cats and young children that make napping a daily habit. Many of us find ourselves dozing throughout the day. While some consider napping a sign of laziness or illness, others think of napping as a way to catch up on sleep or stay alert the rest of the day. If you find yourself getting drowsy at some point in the afternoon, should you struggle to stay awake or happily curl up under the covers? Let’s put the debate to rest by comparing the positives and negatives of napping.
You Snooze, You Win
Don’t close your eyes to the joys of napping because dozing can do you some good. See, America is a sleep-deprived country. Busy days and stressful lives can leave you lying awake all night, then lagging and dragging by after lunch. A lack of sleep not only hinders your performance but can also affect your health and immunity. Luckily, studies have shown that napping can be beneficial for people of all ages. Even great minds like Albert Edison, Winston Churchill and Napoleon made daily naps non-negotiable!
For most people, sleep experts agree that taking short and well-planned naps can help your body, mind and mood by helping to:
- Improve your attention and alertness
- Increase your concentration
- Enhance your performance
- Boost your mood
- Sharpen your memory
- Increase your energy
- Reduce mistakes and accident
- Relax and manage stress
- Lower your blood pressure
The Dark Side of Napping
While napping can benefit many, a mid-day snooze can be a nightmare for others. See, daily dozing isn’t recommended for certain people, such as those that suffer from insomnia or struggle with sleep disorders. In addition, napping should be avoided by those with excessive daytime fatigue due to prescription medications, stress, depression or mood disorders. Napping may only worsen these situations or hide underlying health conditions that need to be put to bed.
Even for those that don’t face these difficult issues, napping can sometimes have negative effects. Napping too long can make you groggy when you first wake up, while napping too late in the day can keep you from falling and staying asleep at night.
The Dos and Don’ts of Dozing
The knack to napping is knowing the time and the place to nod off. If you’re one of the many that can benefit from a good nap, use the following tips and tricks to get the most from your afternoon snooze:
- Keep It Short and Sweet
The best naps only last around 20 to 30 minutes. Shorter naps are usually refreshing and restorative, while longer ones can make you groggy and affect your sleep at night. And research shows that even a 10-minute nap can perk up your performance.
- Time for Bed
Timing is everything when it comes to napping. According to the Mayo Clinic, the ideal time to nap is around 2:00 in the afternoon. Dozing any later can interfere with your sleep that night.
- Create a Zen Zone
You want to nap in a comfortable, quiet and cool environment. If you’re at home, try to snooze in bed. Prevent as much light as possible from coming into your room and use earplugs or a white noise machine to black out any noise.
Now that we’ve exhausted the discussion about napping, sleep on the pros and cons to see whether napping is right for you.