We all have seen a small child not wanting to be put down for a nap. “But I’m not tired!” They whine with crossed arms, “I don’t wanna sleep!”
As adults, many of us find this behavior ridiculous, and almost feel a sort of joking envy. After all, you’d love to have structured nap times built into your busy life, right? If your boss suddenly turned off the lights and told everyone to go to sleep for a half-hour, you’d take full advantage! If only, you think to yourself, if only this little kid knew how much they’d be missing these nap times when they get older. But who says adults can’t have nap time too?
The Positive and Negative Effects of Nap Time
Naps offer a lot of potential health benefits beyond staving off the effects of sleep deprivation from a poor night’s sleep. According to research, the benefits associated with naps include:
- Reduced fatigue
- Increased alertness
- Improved mood
- Improved performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory
Although these benefits sound lovely, if not done properly, napping can have negative impacts associated with it, such as:
- Sleep inertia
- Nighttime sleep problems
- Risk of high blood pressure
- Sleep disorders, especially obstructive sleep apnea
Tips for the Best Nap Possible
Thus, if you’re going to nap, it is important to get the most possible benefit. Here are some tips for making the most of your nap:
- Time it right: Experts say napping between about 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (for someone on a typical schedule) takes the best advantage of the downtime in your natural sleep-wake cycle. Later naps are more likely to impair nighttime sleep.
- Keep it short: Naps of 30 to 45 minutes can generally give you the boost you need without leaving you groggy or interfering with your nighttime sleep. Set an alarm or two to make sure you don’t sleep through that ideal range of time.
- Get comfy: If possible, try to nap in a comfortable place so you can maximize the benefits. Make sure you are as disturbed as little as possible, and try to put yourself in the right mindset to de-stress.
- Do something to energize you when you wake up: If you take a shorter nap, you should wake up fairly alert, but if you oversleep or take a longer nap, you might need a few minutes to reenter the waking world.
- Enjoy your nap: The CDC doesn’t recommend this explicitly, but we do. Giving yourself permission for self-care can be a challenge. It’s easy to believe that you don’t deserve rest or relaxation, or that you don’t have enough time to hit pause for 30 minutes.
At Jax Sleep Center, we believe that sleep is one of the most important parts of a healthy life. Whether it’s a full night’s slumber or just a brief siesta, everyone needs sleep. We have a team of experts available to assist you in getting the best out of your rest. Our office is designed with your comfort in mind and a relaxing environment for all. Schedule an appointment and let us help you feel refreshed and energized again.