Comfier Sleep by Bernice Abuan 3 minutes

Is it good to take a nap in the afternoon?

We all get those days where we’re counting down the hours until our cheeky afternoon sleep. Really – you’re not alone. In fact, the rise of sleeping pods and quiet places in workplaces is evidence of the benefits of a nap in the afternoon.

So you’re wondering a) who do I need afternoon naps and b) is it good to take a nap in the afternoon? Snoozers rejoice! Research shows that napping can increase worker productivity, improving performance on things like perceptual tasks, while daytime drowsiness can make it worse. Napping in the afternoon may enhance your brain’s learning capacity almost as much as a full night of sleep, and it is also said that people who nap have better moods and lower frustration levels compared to those who don’t nap. 

Sounds like a hard yes to us (rubber elbows, us). Still wondering is it bad to take a nap during the day”? We investigate the benefits of napping as well as the potential downsides.

Benefits of napping 

Napping, may not be for everyone, but below are benefits to napping:

☺️ Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. 

☺️ Afternoon sleeps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day. 

☺️ Scheduled napping has also been prescribed for those who are affected by narcolepsy – a sleep disorder that is characterised by excessive sleepiness, sleep attacks, sleep paralysis, hallucinations and, for some, sudden loss of muscle control (cataplexy). 

☺️ Napping has psychological benefits and can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation. 

☺️ Napping can improve our cognitive functioning, reaction times, short-term memory and even our mood. 

☺️ Motor learning, which is where brain pathways change in response to learning a new skill, can be significantly greater following a brief afternoon nap for regular nappers when compared to non-nappers. 

Is napping during the day bad for you?

As with most things, there are negative effects of napping. It is important to note these effects and to know what is best for your body and works for you.

😔 Afternoon naps can leave people with sleep inertia, especially when they last more than 10-20 minutes. Sleep inertia is defined as the feeling of grogginess and disorientation that can come with awakening from a deep sleep. While this state usually only lasts for a few minutes to a half-hour, it can be detrimental to those who must perform immediately after waking from a napping period. Post-nap impairment and disorientation is more severe, and can last longer, in people who are sleep deprived or nap for longer periods.

😔 Napping can have a negative effect on regular sleeping periods. A long nap or a nap taken too late in the day may adversely affect the length and quality of nighttime sleep. If you have trouble sleeping at night, a nap will only amplify these problems.

😔 One study has indicated that napping is associated with increased risk of heart failure in people already at risk.

A woman finds her best sleeping position as she relaxes on her back on a Koala mattress

How to have a good nap

If you think napping will help you, here are some tips to help you make the most of a midday nap and see if this works for you.

😴 A short nap is recommended, around 20-30 minutes. This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.

😴 Your sleep environment can greatly impact your ability to nap. Ensure you have a restful place to lie down, somewhere you won’t be disturbed, is private and dark.

😴 If you take a nap too late in the day, this may affect your nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night. 

😴 Focus on napping in the afternoon. An early to mid-afternoon nap provides the greatest rejuvenation when compared to naps at any other time of the day. However, if you’re struggling to stay awake, a brief nap taken at any time can be help keep you alert.

😴 Set an alarm to signal when to get up and allow yourself a few minutes to get yourself together before you go back to the office.

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