As children, we never wanted to take a nap when we were told.
As adults, it seems like a dream to be able to take a nap at any point throughout the day.
As we all know by now, sleep is crazy important for brain function.
And it’s one of our 20 must-do tips for clear skin.
Even though we are grown and are a bit busier, below you will find out the best way to take a nap and the top 5 benefits of doing so!
When is the best time to nap?
Many people report feeling sluggish towards the afternoon or in need of a pick-me-up.
This is for a reason as our bodies are signaling the need for rest at this time.
According to recent studies, adults who engage in naps after lunch report better cognition than those who do not partake in a nap throughout the day.
Being able to break up your day has many benefits that we will get to below, however this habit of having an afternoon nap is further backed up by Insomnia Therapist Candice Seti who not only agrees but she goes as far as to even set a deadline of 3 pm, making a 12 pm-3 pm nap ideal to where it won’t interfere with your sleep at night.
This would mean that you are able to rest at the midpoint of your day for a short period of time to rid yourself of that sluggish feeling right when you need it.
How long should a nap be?
Therapist Candice Seti also states “though it may sound tempting to snooze for a couple of hours, a proper nap is short and sweet” meaning that it shouldn’t be hours long.
Aiming for a nap between 15-30 minutes long enables your body and mind to do a quick reset which is great for your mental and cognitive health.
Daniel Pink, a bestselling author who specializes in business and human behavior, coined the term “nappuccino” to describe how he is able to implement naps into his routine and how to avoid oversleeping in the process.
Pink suggests that you br3ew a strong cup of coffee right before your nap and drink it before you lay down.
You will be able to gain the rest you need before the caffeine wakes you up to finish the rest of your day.
If you’re not a coffee drinker, tea may be the next best thing for you in this situation, but know that everyone is different, therefore your napping methodology may change as well.
Overall, aiming for an afternoon nap between 12-3pm that lasts only 15-30 minutes is going to be your best bet in reaping the benefits below!
The top 5 benefits of an afternoon nap
- An afternoon nap allows for your mental and cognitive functions to restore their abilities throughout the day by releasing stress.
- Once you’re able to release stress, you’ll also relieve tension throughout the body and support your cardiovascular and nervous systems.
- Increase in mental clarity and memory. Throughout the day our minds are distracted by many things, a nap allows you to clear your mind and improve your memory over time.
- Better digestion as you’re able to boost your nutrient absorption and release what is not needed by allowing the small intestine to work uninterrupted.
- Finally, you’ll reduce your overall levels of fatigue and improve relaxation that can holistically benefit the body over time.
Furthermore, beyond what occurs within your body as you’re taking a nap, the long-term effects on your mental health including mood regulation and the lessening of anxious symptoms have also been studied and found to improve.
Where to nap
Now that you know the benefits of taking a nap, the environment you create to do so also plays a factor in the quality of sleep you will receive.
For the best results, an environment that is dark, quiet, and comfortable is ideal.
To help, getting shades that block out the sun and setting your phone across the room from you as you sleep to where you’re not hearing notifications will also deepen the level of sleep you’re able to obtain.
Although we may think we are “too busy” throughout the day to take a nap, it may just be the best thing for us to do to maintain a good level of health.
Napping between 12-3 pm for 15-30 minutes allows your body to reset and restore the proper functioning that it needs to perform at its best for you throughout the day.
Looks like it’s time to grab a pillow!
Afternoon Napping and Cognition in Chinese Older Adults: Findings from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study Baseline Assessment
First published: 20 December 2016 https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.14368
Nota, J.A., Coles, M.E. Duration and Timing of Sleep are Associated with Repetitive Negative Thinking. Cogn Ther Res 39, 253–261 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-014-9651-7