Did you know there are health benefits to napping? They aren’t just for children. About one-third of adults in the United States get in a daily nap. For many people, naps can be a way to refresh and recharge mid-day.
Why Should You Nap?
While healthy adults don’t necessarily need to nap, many find napping provides positive benefits. Helping you feel refreshed to meet the demands of your day, preparing you for when you may be short on sleep (like when you have to work or study late into the night), and improving your mood and energy level, are all benefits of napping.
How Long Should You Nap?
Researchers suggest that a 20-minute nap is the best length. A short nap like this allows your mind and body to rest without entering the deeper stages of sleep. If you have time and a need for a longer nap, napping for 60 to 90 minutes is enough time to have deep, but end up in the lighter stages of sleep so you feel alert when you awake. Meanwhile, a nap of around 45 minutes can be problematic because you will likely wake up during slow-wave sleep, the deepest stage, which can leave you with that groggy feeling—called sleep inertia—when you wake up.
But a short nap still has benefits! Scientists have found that when people napped for around 30 minutes, they had better memory recall and superior cognition than both non-nappers and those who napped longer. Are you familiar with the term “power nap”? How long is a power nap? Power naps taken in the early afternoon usually last 15 to 20 minutes and can restore and refresh you when experiencing a natural decline in energy and wakefulness. NASA tested the effects of power napping on astronauts and found it had an effective boost to performance and alertness.
Are Naps Good For You?
Naps aren't just good for children. Many studies have pointed out that taking naps eliminate daytime sleepiness, as well as boosts learning and performance. For shift workers, naps can improve alertness and reaction times. Babies, toddlers, and young children benefit from naps in numerous ways. They help meet a child’s daily sleep requirement of 9-17 hours of sleep depending on age, improve behavior and emotional self-regulation, and aid their memory and language learning.
Tips For Napping
Most sleep researchers recommend napping before 2 p.m. so that your nap has less impact on your nighttime sleep. Drinking a small amount of caffeine before your nap may help you avoid the groggy feeling of sleep inertia when you wake up because it takes some time for the caffeine to affect your body. On days you aren’t able to take a nap, getting out in bright sunlight can help restore energy. Set an alarm so you don’t sleep for more than 20 minutes. Find a cool, quiet, dark place for napping, or consider wearing an eye mask and earplugs.
Fresh Air Matters
According to the Journal of Respiratory Care, our oxygen levels actually decrease while we sleep due to not breathing as deeply, and the lung spaces aren’t all functioning at full capacity. Make sure that while you breathe less oxygen while sleeping, the air you are breathing is clean, healthy, and devoid of allergens, pollutants, and contaminants that can negatively affect your indoor air quality and overall health. Fresh Air Matters offers local plans and services such as air filter replacement plans, air duct cleaning, and much more, as well as clinically proven, top-brand air purifiers proven to clean the air you breathe.