Now I can tell you that my sister will not like this post, so Paula I apologize for the topic I am about to discuss. I am going to talk about napping, not children’s naps but real adult nap time. The reason this post is relevant for me is that I went on a whirlwind long Labor Day weekend, traveling from Las Vegas back to Indianapolis, to Lafayette then back to Indianapolis, and finally to Chicago and back to Indianapolis. I had a great time and did many fun things but when I came home I was EXHAUSTED.
I don’t know about you but I feel guilty when I’m tired. I think about all of the things I need to do and say to myself, “Why are you such a wuss that you are so tired? Keep going!” But I’ll tell you, I like to nap but I’ve always felt guilty about it. I don’t nap that often, maybe once a month, but when I finally allow myself a nap I love it and I feel so much better after I awaken. However, I still feel guilty, like I’m a lazy slug so I never admit that I nap. My sister is very anti-nap which is why I began my post that way. I think many people equate naps with laziness and my sister isn’t alone in that sentiment. So in my usual myth-busting way I am here to tell you that NAPS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! Well, actually naps can be problematic under certain conditions which I’ll discuss also. As long as you wait to nap until you finish reading my post I’ll share what I’ve discovered with you. Here we go!
Napping has many benefits which include reduced fatigue, increased feeling of relaxation, improved mood, increased alertness, improved reaction time, better memory, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes. These things are all great but the benefits will only be achieved when the following conditions are met. First, keep naps of a short duration, no more than 10-30 minutes. If you nap longer you’ll feel groggy and sluggish. Second, nap in the afternoon, optimally around 2 or 3 pm. That’s when the post lunch sleepiness occurs and a time when people typically feel less alert. Also, if you take a nap at this time of day it’s least likely to interfere with your sleep at night which is really important. Third, create a restful environment, a quiet, dark place with a comfortable room temperature and no distractions is best for a good, quality nap. Last, give yourself a few minutes after awakening from your nap to wake up before going back to your daily activities, especially if you need to have a quick response during those activities. We don’t want any accidents to happen while you’re awakening!
When shouldn’t you nap? There are certain conditions under which a nap is not advised. If you are an insomniac, and have difficulty sleeping at night, then napping is not recommended because napping during the day could make your ability to sleep even worse at night. Also, if you suffer from depression napping is not a good idea. Napping during the day could worsen depression symptoms. In addition, the sudden need to nap could be a symptom of a underlying disease or problem so make sure you get that checked out by a trusted physician if it happens consistently and you can’t determine the reason for it.
I don’t suffer from anything other than plan old busy life syndrome so I’m going to indulge in a nap when I need it and know that if I take a short nap in the afternoon under restful conditions and give myself a bit of time when I awaken before doing something that needs my utmost attention then I’ll be just fine. So nappers of the world, know that you’re doing something healthy for your body and soul, that allows you to live a life of vitality- like Valerie!