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Should I Take a Nap?

August 31, 2022 5 min read

Should I Take a Nap?

Should I Take a Nap?

After having a normal sleep at night, you may still need to snatch a few minutes around mid-afternoon and have a nap. Failure to do so may lead to a lack of alertness and poor performance at the workplace. Recent studies have found that taking 30 minutes nap can help to compensate for a short sleep period of 5 hours the previous night.

Many people are never sure it taking a nap is healthy or not. They may also not be sure when is the most appropriate time to nap. However, a nap may not be possible for everyone. Some work settings may not allow or provide a chance to take a nap as it would conflict with the work schedule. In the United States, more than a third of adults take a nap, positively impacting their general health and production at the workplace. This article highlights all you need to know about taking a nap.

What is a Nap?

A nap is a little slumber that mostly occurs during the day. One may need to set the alarm to avoid sleeping for so long. It may also make you wake up more tired, dizzy, and disoriented.

How Does a Nap Differ From Sleep?

  • They differ in length. A nap is short and may not take more than 20 minutes. Sleep is long. It may take up to 8 hours.
  • A nap occurs during the day while sleep is for the night.
  • Sleep may have more than one cycle, while a nap is too short of having a complete cycle.

Is a Nap Necessary?

According to Doyle (2010), a nap is mandatory. Taking a nap of fewer than 30 minutes can make you whole again. You will wake up feeling more energetic. The afternoon is the most appropriate time to take a nap. It will give you the energy to carry on with the rest of the day.

How Long Should You Nap?

A nap should not be too long. It should not take more than 30 minutes. Longer naps may make you sleep poorly at night. It can also make you less productive as you wake up feeling more tired. 

When to Nap?

The best time to nap is between the early afternoon and 3 pm. However, it may depend on when you wake up in the morning. Those who wake up early can nap around noon, while those who wake up late should nap around 3. Between noon and 3 pm, you are likely to be tired. Napping past 3 pm may interfere with your sleep at night.

How Should You Take a Nap?

You should ensure you are taking a nap right to prevent it from interfering with your night's sleep or the activities following the nap. Here are some of the tips to apply;

Do Not Overdo It

 A nap should not take more than 30 minutes. Taking a long nap may make you wake up feeling more tired. It may also interfere with your daily schedule. Moreover, having longer naps may also interfere with your night's sleep. Since you might be tempted to extend, it is advisable to set the alarm. 

Do it at the Right Time

Taking a nap in the late evening might be dangerous as it can interfere with your night's sleep. The most appropriate time to take a nap is early afternoon.

Lay in a Comfortable Place

According to Tucker et al. (2006), ensure you are comfortable and away from distractions such as noise and light from screens such as computers and television. You should also ensure your bed is comfortable for maximum enjoyment.

Be Consistent

You should have a regular nap schedule. Take a nap at a specific time and wake up at a specific time each day. A regular schedule will make it easy to fall asleep.

How to Wake Up from a Nap

A nap may turn up to be a long sleep. Therefore, you require an alarm to wake you up. Make sure you set your alarm before sleeping. Do not set a very high or low volume. You can set the best song in your playlist as the alarm tone. Taking a nap at the same time each day will help your body automatically sense the time to wake up.

Benefits of a Nap

Improves Alertness

Taking a 20 minutes nap will make your brain fresh. It also helps to enhance memory by improving the storage of information. According to Takahashi et al. (2004), a nap can improve alertness and performance. This happens especially if one has a sleep debt.

Improves Immunity

Lack of enough sleep can lead to immunodeficiency by releasing inflammatory markers. Therefore, a nap can help compensate for a sleep debt that might have occurred the previous night.

Rest

Taking a nap during the day facilitates rest. After taking a nap, you wake up feeling more energetic. This energy helps you to be productive throughout the evening.

Compensates Lost Sleep

A nap may help compensate for lost sleep that might have occurred the previous night. It will prevent you from feeling very tired and sluggish. A nap will do you good than taking a cup of coffee to induce alertness.

Can a Nap Be Risky?

A nap can be risky. According to Léger et al. (2019), long naps may lead to serious health conditions such as diabetes and depression. It may also make you sleep poorly at night, especially if taken late in the evening. Taking a nap can be tempting. You may end up sleeping for long hours, making you wake up more tired, with impaired cognition and disoriented, a condition referred to as sleep inertia. Taking a nap at the workplace might interfere with your working schedule. Napping is also a risk factor for morbidity and mortality in older people. However, more research is needed to explain and support this finding.

Conclusion

A nap is a little slumber of about 20 minutes. It is different from sleep in length and cycle. When taking a nap, make sure you are in a comfortable place, set the alarm, and be consistent. A nap helps in regaining strength, facilitating alertness, and improving immunity. Taking a long nap may make you dizzy and disoriented. It may also affect your working schedule. Too long napa can lead to conditions such as diabetes and obesity. It is also a risk factor for mortality in older people.

References

Takahashi, M., Nakata, A., Haratani, T., Ogawa, Y., & Arito, H. (2004). Post-lunch nap as a worksite intervention to promote alertness on the job. Ergonomics, 47(9),1

Tucker, M. A., Hirota, Y., Wamsley, E. J., Lau, H., Chaklader, A., & Fishbein, W. (2006). A daytime nap containing solely non-REM sleep enhances declarative but not procedural memory. Neurobiology of learning and memory, 86(2), 241-247.003-1013.

Doyle, S. (2010). To mandatory nap or not to mandatory nap.

Léger, D., Torres, M. J., Bayon, V., Hercberg, S., Galan, P., Chennaoui, M., & Andreeva, V. A. (2019). The association between physical and mental chronic conditions and napping. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-7.