Mar 14, 2023 • Annie Cao
If naps had a villain origin story, it would be about how they’ve been misunderstood as a lazy or unproductive activity. But naps are actually beneficial, when used correctly.
Here are 3 benefits that might convince you to go take that midday snooze (on our Sabai sofa, of course 😉).
Feeling stressed? Tired? Or are you stressed because you’re tired? Then a quick nap might be what you need. In a small study, scientists found that naps were able to relieve some of the stress that comes with sleep loss. Plus, naps can also improve your mood, which will help you get back to tackling your day with renewed energy.
If you didn’t get enough sleep the night before or if you work long, irregular hours, then a nap can help fight off that afternoon slump or get you through that late-night shift.
Additionally, some studies show that naps might have additional health benefits. One study reported that people who napped twice a week were at a lower risk for heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. Your immune system is also compromised when in sleep debt, so napping can help with recovering immune system functions during the day.
When you’re sleepy, it can be hard to focus on your work or daily tasks. But a short nap can snap you back into a more alert, focused mode. For some people, a nap can help with improving reaction times, memory recall, decision-making, and logical reasoning.
Taking naps in the late afternoon or too close to bedtime can interfere with sleeping at night. Sleep researchers recommend getting your nap in before 3 PM so you can feel refreshed and still fall asleep easily at night.
The perfect nap doesn’t exi— ahem, here are some of the tips we’ve gathered to improve your nap game.
Your bedroom is typically the ideal place to take a nap during the day, especially if you have blackout curtains and a white noise machine. We also shamelessly recommend our Essential Sofa for its coziness and comfortable cushions. Just make sure to close the curtains to create a dark and cool environment before taking a quick snooze.
If you’re at work, it might be more difficult, but some things you can try are:
This might not work for everyone, but you can give it a test run during your next siesta. Caffeine takes about 30 minutes to kick in, so drinking a little coffee (or tea!) before taking a nap might help you feel more energized afterwards.
While it may be tempting to drift off into dreamland, naps are actually supposed to end before you reach that stage. The REM sleep stage starts after 90 minutes of sleep, but you want to keep your naps between 20 to 30 minutes long. This allows you to feel rested without the grogginess. Since everyone is different, try testing out different times to find your napping sweet spot.
[Note: if you're an emergency worker or shift worker, a 90-minute nap might also be helpful since it allows you to go through one whole sleep cycle.]
Some naps will leave you feeling great – you’ll spring up from your bed or couch, energized and ready to get back to work. But sometimes, you might have sleep inertia.
Sleep inertia is the grogginess you feel when you enter slow-wave sleep (aka REM sleep) and suddenly wake up. If you’re super sleep-deprived, a nap might send you to that deep sleep stage faster than normal. In those cases, you might want to take a shorter nap and make sure to schedule a few extra minutes to wake up and get back into the groove of things.
Naps are a great tool to fight off drowsiness from an afternoon slump or irregular work hours, but they’re not for everyone. Maybe you don’t like sleeping during the day or you don’t feel completely relaxed unless you’re in your own bed. Then taking a nap might not give you the energy boost that you need. Additionally, if you don’t feel that tired during the day, then you probably don’t need to add naps into your daily routine.
If your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to nap or you’re not comfortable with it, you can try a few other tricks to get your energy levels up. This includes:
No matter what you do to keep your energy up throughout the day, it’s important to get enough rest every night so you don’t fall into sleep debt. Being intentional with your rest will improve your mental and physical health.
What are your tips and tricks to take a great nap? Leave them in the comments down below and share this blog post to encourage your friends and loved ones to take a well-deserved nap!