As a child, you may have dreaded and even tried to put off nap time as much as possible. But as adults with long to-do lists and tiring days, all we dream of is getting restful sleep!
Napping can help us achieve that. It might seem silly at first, but napping can be beneficial for adults, and there are a few reasons why. Let’s get to it.
What are the benefits of napping for adults?
After a sleepless night, either due to a late night at work or struggling to get your little ones to bed, you may feel grogginess or fatigue during the day. Taking a short nap can help counteract this drowsiness. Short naps can even help boost your workplace performance. This is because while we sleep, cognitive functions like memory processing and logical reasoning are known to be active. This means that waking up from a nap can give you a renewed outlook on a complex task.
Additionally, studies have shown that a daytime snooze can improve physical performance. After a nap, athletes in the study experienced improved endurance, reaction times and cognitive performance.
Apart from helping us feel better, napping has other health benefits as well. While we need more research on these areas, studies suggest that napping can help lower the risk of cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks, relieve stress and even support our immune system.
The downside to napping
If napping is so beneficial, why aren’t adults encouraged to nap more? Well, that’s because napping too often for too long can have negative impacts on our health. For starters, napping for more than 20 to 30 minutes in a day can throw off your circadian rhythm. While an occasional long nap (around 90 minutes) can do no harm, making it a habit to nap during the day can confuse your body when it’s time to sleep at night.
This is because, the longer we’re asleep, the deeper we are into the sleep cycle. The sleep cycle has 4 stages:
- Stage 1: This is the briefest stage of sleep and lasts between 1 to 7 minutes.
- Stage 2: This stage is when the muscles in our bodies start to relax and body functions slow down. It lasts around 10 to 25 minutes.
- Stage 3: This stage is a deeper and more restorative stage of sleep. It typically lasts about 20 to 40 minutes and can be a bit harder to wake up immediately from this stage.
- Rapid Eye Movement (REM): This is the final stage of sleep, where our muscles are temporarily paralyzed, and our eyes move quickly while we dream. This phase starts around 90 minutes after you start sleeping and lasts anywhere between 10 minutes to 1 hour.
Napping too often during the day can leave us with fragmented sleep at night, where we wake up multiple times or insomnia, where we struggle to fall asleep altogether. On top of that, studies have shown that the longer you nap, the more fatigued you feel when you wake up. This can impact performance and alertness.
How can you take the ideal nap?
With some help from a few tips and tricks, you can still enjoy napping while avoiding sleep troubles at night. Here are some to get you started:
Keep naps short
Aim to nap for short bursts of time during the day. Napping for around 10 to 20 minutes during the day can help you avoid losing sleep at night. Shorter naps also make you less likely to feel groggy after you wake up, which can worsen feelings of sleepiness.
Take naps in the early afternoon
Sleep experts recommend that adults take naps at least 8 hours or more before their usual bedtime. For most people, this means napping earlier than 3pm. Additionally, napping around mid-afternoon tends to help us stay in the earlier sleep stages. Whereas napping after this time can make us more prone to deep sleep. This is because as the day goes by, our natural sleep drive increases, forcing us to disrupt our sleep patterns. So, napping early is a surefire way to avoid interfering with your nighttime sleep schedule.
Try energy-boosting nutrients
For those days when you can’t take a nap, but need to feel alert, get that extra support from some energy-boosting supplements. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is one of the most important nutrients when it comes to our energy levels. CoQ10 is an antioxidant that’s naturally found in our bodies. It’s what drives our mitochondria to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell’s main source of energy.
When the mitochondria don’t have enough CoQ10, it can result in increased migraines, heart health issues, and a decrease in energy. While you can find CoQ10 in foods like oily fish, whole grains, and nuts, some may benefit from a higher and more consistent dosage in the form of a supplement. Try our CoQ10 100mg or 200mg. Making sure your body has enough CoQ10 to go around can help support energy production and keep our hearts healthy at the same time!
Vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B12 and iron are also great for helping support the body’s energy levels. This is because iron is required to transport oxygen throughout our body’s tissues and without enough of it we can feel extreme fatigue, a common symptom of iron deficiency or anemia. Additionally, vitamin B12 plays an important role in helping transform the foods we eat into energy our cells can use, keeping us well-energized. If you’re looking to increase your intake of iron and B12, try adding dark leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, brown rice and tofu into your diet.
Another tip is to stay away from eating high amounts of nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios during the day. These nuts are high in melatonin, our sleep hormone, and minerals like magnesium and zinc, which all play a role in helping regulate our sleep cycles and promoting good quality sleep. Tart cherries are also rich in melatonin and can encourage sleep.
The next time you think about taking a nap, be sure to keep it short and nap early. This way, you’ll feel rejuvenated when you wake up and it won’t get in the way of your sleep at night. Sweet dreams!
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