Naps: harmful of beneficial?
Are naps harmful or beneficial? This long-held debate has some research behind it that may change the way you think about naps.
Naps have been around forever. Your grandparents did it (and still do) and even your hardworking ancestors. Historians actually claim that modern day sleeping habits (i.e., 7-8 hours a night, uninterrupted, etc.) are just that – modern. They say that our ancestors would sleep 3-4 hours at a time, waking to do much needed farm, labor, and house work.
While we don’t need to wake up in the middle of night to do chores anymore, many still find themselves needing a rest mid-day. Whether due to sleep deprivation or much-needed relaxation time, naps can be both harmful and beneficial, depending how you do it.
While naps can reduce tiredness, boost alertness, improve mood, as well as improve work or school performance, they aren’t for everyone. Naps can cause grogginess upon waking and sleep problems at night, especially if you’re prone to bouts of insomnia.
That being said, there are ways in which you can nap that can boost the beneficial effects and ward off the harmful ones.
When should you nap?
Listen to your body. If you’re feeling extremely fatigued, take the nap.
Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be missing out on sleep later, plan ahead and take a nap. Your body will thank you later.
How should you nap?
Keep it short. Keep your naps between 10-30 minutes. This will help you rejuvenate quickly, without effecting your sleep later.
Find your restful place. Napping where its quiet and comfortable will ensure those 10-30 minutes are as restful as possible.
Ultimately, listen to your body. You know your body better than anyone else. Happy napping!