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Whether by choice or by sheer exhaustion, we’ve all done some day-sleeping, or what’s commonly known as napping. And while napping is crucial to maintain the positive attitude of babies and toddlers, the benefits are far-reaching for adults as well. But it’s all in how you nap, or the types of naps you take that allow you to truly feel the rewards of more rest. So, let’s get down to the basics of getting that mid-day shut eye.
The benefits of napping can truly be eye-opening if done right. Increased relaxation and alertness, as well as improved mood and performance are commonly felt after naps. They can be restoring, fulfilling, and incredibly enjoyable if done right. But while all of these benefits can be achieved with extra sleep, it’s important to keep some things in mind, otherwise a nap could end up draining your energy instead of restoring it.
For example, some people can feel disoriented after deep sleep and may have trouble functioning at 100%. This isn’t ideal for a big presentation or if you’re looking to reach peak physical performance shortly after sleep. Also, naps too late in the day can disrupt your sleep cycle later that night. If napping ends up resulting in less sleep overall, the trade-off probably isn’t worth it. Everyone responds differently to naps, so make sure you know how you react before working them into your day.
Here’s a quick snapshot of some napping do’s and don’ts:
Keep Naps Quick: Ten to twenty minutes is all it takes. The longer you nap, the groggier you could be when you wake up.
Set an Alarm: It’s easy to get sucked into a long nap, so keep yourself honest with an alarm clock.
Early Afternoon: Try not to nap later than 3p.m. otherwise you may disrupt sleep later that night.
Find a Good Spot: Find a dark, comfortable spot with few distractions.
Reflect: If you’re feeling constantly fatigued and napping isn’t helping, consider talking to a doctor. Notice how napping makes you feel and determine if it’s right for you.