The truth about naps
Monday, March 14, 2016
Who’s ready for a nap? Did you know there is a National Napping Day, in the United States?
Let’s talk the truth about naps.
Research shows that taking naps can reduce stress and fight fatigue. A short nap can improve performance, alertness, and can help increase your ability to stay awake longer, if necessary.
Some tips for proper napping:
- Nap in the afternoon, if choosing to do so
- Timing is important; there are many resources out there, but 10-30 minutes seems to be the best length of time to nap and still enhance instead of harm performance later
- Set an alarm- no one wants to worry about waking up from a nap in time, so just set an alarm and stick to it
- Night shift workers (that’s me!) should anticipate their first night shift with a midday nap to help enhance wakefulness over the next 12-24 hours
- Don’t lose sleep at night! Insomniacs should not depend on napping during the day. This will not help the night time sleep cycle
A caffeinated beverage can also help increase wakefulness. Some resources suggest a “caffeine nap”. This includes drinking something caffeinated BEFORE taking a nap, since caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in. This definitely doesn’t work for everyone.
Discuss your nap strategy with your doctor. It’s very individualized and dependent on your work/lifestyle balance.
Happy Napping all!