Did you know that the National Sleep Foundation actually recommends that we take a 20 or 30-minute nap in the afternoon? This is to restore alertness and help us to function better.
The NSF actually says that the US is becoming more and more sleep deprived with the passing of time. They claim that while napping is not going to make up the difference, that it will improve our moods. Many great figures from the past were avid nappers for instance; Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Ronald Reagan.
They actually go so far as to specify there are three kinds of naps as follows:
- Planned Napping – This is when we take a nap even though we aren’t sleepy. It comes in handy when we know we will be staying up late or something of the sort. It helps you to not get tired as early as you would have.
- Emergency Napping – This kind of napping is what happens when we become so tired that we cannot keep going on. You know what I mean when you are so tired that you cannot even hold your eyes open anymore? This is grounds for an emergency nap.
- Habitual Napping – This is merely the habit of napping at the same time each day. Children often do this but even adults can benefit from it. I personally like to take a short nap after lunch.
Now, while a short afternoon nap is beneficial, a long nap is not. Long naps create something known as ‘sleep hangover.’ This can and will disturb your sleep cycle and should be avoided. People who take short naps each day are most likely a lot healthier than those who do not. They are given the chance to recharge and de-stress.
One study found that midday naps lowered blood pressure and relaxed the body. This is important when you aren’t getting enough sleep at night because not getting enough sleep can increase your chances of heart disease as well as other issues. Decreasing your blood pressure through an afternoon nap could benefit you more than you realize.
When it comes to taking an afternoon nap there isn’t much to it. Set your alarm then get comfy and relax. Allow yourself to fall asleep but remember not to let yourself sleep for more than 30 minutes. Make sure you also schedule in a few minutes before and after that way you can get to sleep and allow yourself a minute or two to wake back up.
While some people don’t seem to need naps all that much, I know I do. No one is made the same so it makes sense that some would need them and others would not. If you are someone who needs to take an afternoon nap, take one.