Honestly, I hate naps, despite what my family may say. It feels like a waste of time, but there’s no denying that sometimes, the urge to nap is just overwhelming. However, according to the Sleep Health Foundation, naps can be good when:
- You know you will not be able to sleep normally the next night (such as changing to nightshifts)
- You feel drowsy and it’s affecting your effectiveness (getting sleepy while driving)
- You just didn’t sleep so well the night before
While naps can actually be beneficial, there are a few rules for good napping. The first rule is to limit your nap to 15-30 minutes, any longer and you may fall into a deep sleep, wake up extremely groggy, and make it harder to fall asleep later when you’re supposed to. Try to nap at the same time every day if you take regular naps, otherwise, early afternoon is your best bet. Also try to nap in a quiet, dark place, just as you would if you were going to bed.
If you fail to follow these rules (I do all the time), you can have a few unfortunate side effects. Napping longer than 30 minutes can cause sleep inertia, meaning it’s hard to wake up and you feel even more tired than when you laid down in the first place. If you nap to early or two late, you may not be tired enough to nap or can ruin your sleep routine for the night. This also applies to not having the proper sleep environment.
Naps aren’t just for children or the sick. Despite what people may say, naps are perfectly acceptable as an adult as long as you follow the rules above so they don’t mess with your natural sleep. Another thing to remember is that naps are not a suitable replacement for quality sleep at night. Instead, it should be thought of as a supplement for when you cannot get enough sleep. However, if you find you’re having problems sleeping well at night that is not nap related, talk to your doctor about it.