Napping: The Power Behind the Doze
Power naps may just be the greatest invention given to mankind. But aside from giving us the energy to keep living, naps may have some major mental and physical benefits.
When we were little, our parents made sure we had snacks and a nap each day. And let's face it, we were happier. Now that we're adults and life is more stressful than ever, why is that we don't take naps to help get us through the day? There’s a great amount of evidence to suggest that naps are just as beneficial—even necessary—for us now as they were when we were young.
According to the Mayo Clinic, napping isn’t just nice, it reduces fatigue, increases alertness, and improves mood and performance (including better reaction time and better memory).
Want in on all this goodness? There are three types of naps and each has its place:
This is also known as the “disco nap.” This nap is great when you plan on having a late night (going to the disco, for instance, if you’re still convinced it’s 1974). It can help you keep rocking late into the night without becoming too sleepy.
Also known as the “emergency break.” Say you’re driving cross-country and suddenly find yourself becoming extremely tired, an emergency nap is useful to avoid danger. FInd a safe place to pull over, and give take a 30-to 40-minute nap to refuel.
The habitual nap happens at about the same time every day for roughly the same amount of time. Habitual naps are great for recharging the body.
What’s the ideal amount of time to nap? That depends on what your goal is and how much time you realistically have.
10 to 20 minutes
Commonly referred to as the “power nap,” this catnap can help you get through your day when you’re exhausted.
This longer nap may actually help you with cognitive processes like memory.
Ah, the dedicated napper. This 90-minute nap will get you through most of a sleep cycle, which means you’ll fully recharge your brain and get renewed creative energy.
As far as the best time of day to nap, most people prefer the afternoon because that’s when the body’s energy stores naturally dip and while what we really need is to catch some zzz’s, many of us reach for a sugary snack to keep us powering through. However, to find the best time of day for you, check out this interactive nap wheel.
There are numerous studies about the benefits of napping, but despite the evidence, not all bodies are built the same. If you find that taking a nap during the day only makes you feel groggy or if you find taking a nap means you don’t sleep as well at night, then don’t nap.
On the other hand, if you need an easy way to recharge your body and brain, science is on your side for taking a nap, and the whole world might seem like a much nicer place if you do.