Should You Be Napping? When & How Long Should You Nap For?
Many people can benefit from adding multiple naps during the week. And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a little nap! Sesita (aka afternoon naps) taken early in the afternoon, often after the midday meal have been around for thousands of years, but in English speaking countries we have never seem to caught onto this wonderful tradition.
But, did you know napping isn’t for everyone? It’s not good for anyone with sleep insomnia, or anyone who is struggling to create a sleep schedule. Because you want to create circadian rhythm, and create a healthy night time routine in order to help you wind down before bed. This includes expanding energy through the day, exercising, but nothing too intensive and over stimulating after 3pm.
For others, napping is best for people who are getting 7-9 hours at night, they are okay with falling asleep at night, but they need a little extra time to rejuvenate their body, and need a little time to quite the mind. So, for most people napping is okay.
The best time to nap is after lunch. It allows time for digestion and relaxation. Especially after a lot of people have busy mornings, i.e getting the kids ready, early morning workouts then rushing to work and lots of meetings. It’s like stopping for a rejuvenation session, because you allow your body to tap onto the sympathetic nervous system, this quietens down stress hormones, begins to boost rejuvenation hormones and begins to repair our body at a greater level.
But who has time for a nap? We all would like more time to nap, I’ll be the first to raise my hand to that. But here’s the thing, we have to look at life as not necessarily a sprint to get through every single day (I’m guilty of this too). We have to look at life as a very long journey. It’s good to be productive, but not burn out. Slowing down is vital for our health, we have to not feel guilty about this, because we will actually be more productive over the long term by slowing down.
Some studies have shown that athletes, business people (like entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and business people a like), can really benefit from napping. It enables us to boost productivity through quietening the mind and settling ourselves. A rejuvenated body has more energy, and it naturally wants to do more. It’ll help improve productivity in the long run.
So, how we do find the time nap? Well, it’s like anything in life, you make time for anything that’s a priority. Maybe it’s not achievable Monday-Friday, but on Saturdays and Sundays it is.
Now, how long should you nap? It could be anywhere between 10-30 minutes. Some studies show 20-30 minute naps have the greatest amount of benefits, and less benefits with 40-50 minute naps. A 2006 study found that even 10 minute naps improved cognitive function and it was very effective at boosting the body’s alertness. Another study found 20 minutes naps left people feeling quite refreshed, the body doesn’t drop into a deep sleep or REM sleep in this time, because when you wake during a deep sleep or REM sleep you often wake up feeling groggy.
The data also shows daytime napping is very powerful in decreasing the #1 cause or mortality, cardiovascular disease. It’s decrease cardiovascular disease in my opinion because you better regulate stress hormones and inflammation by calming the nervous system. Even a quiet walk, or meditation can help too.
Do be mindful not to nap after 4pm. Naps too late in the day could affect your sleep, so if you decided to add in more naps, aim to have them between 12-3pm.
In summary: Napping improves mood, fatigue, helps with blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, alertness, memory. There are also anti-ageing benefits too! And keep naps short to 10-30 minutes for the greatest amount of benefits.