I get made fun of for two things that I know for a fact is actually jealousy: taking naps and going to bed before 10pm. Let me clarify. It’s jealousy from mostly my peers (people in their late 30s, 40s, and beyond). When I tell them I take naps every single day at some point between 12pm and 2pm, they look at me with bewilderment and 90% of the time they’ll say “really?” kind of expecting me to feel like crap because they don’t nap. Or they might say “how the hell do you do that? I could never nap.” But then there’s this look on their face that follows. It’s this look where I can tell they’re thinking to themselves “damn, I wish I could take naps as often as this guy.” Well, let me tell you something. You should feel that way and you sure as hell should be taking naps. Let’s get into it.
If you want the scientific proof that naps are beneficial to you then look no further than The Sleep Foundation. But just in case you want some highlights, here they are:
- Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
- Naps 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.
- Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.
And yes, I have to disclose to you that there are negative effects as well which can be:
- 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 also have a negative effect on other 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 problems.
- One study has indicated that napping is associated with increased risk of heart failure in people already at risk.
But remember these negatives can usually be avoided. Most negatives are associated with napping for extended periods. So make sure they are an hour or less. And the part about risk of heart failure is hardly fact. It was one study and didn’t take into account people in the study who were already unhealthy. So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way I want to point you to some reasons to take a nap which is another article you need to read. I also want you to pay attention to the different kinds of naps which goes into nap lengths and what each nap can do for you. This should allow you to narrow down what kinds of naps are right for you and get you started on the path to taking the naps you need. So yeah, there’s a bunch of stuff out there about napping you should read but I figured I would state my own reasons why napping has helped me because it might help you. My reasons for napping are the following:
1. I generally feel great afterwards
And by great I mean ridiculously refreshed. If I get in a nice hour long nap the second I wake up I usually feel like a million bucks. There’s no adjustment period like after a full nights sleep. In general I’m pretty much ready to go within minutes after my eyes open. I just feel better, period. And by that I mean physically and mentally. It’s hard to describe the feeling unless you consistently nap every or almost every day.
2. Alertness and productivity
This where I would refer you to some of the links I’ve provided as proof but it’s 100% true. I feel more alert and because I feel like a million bucks I’m usually raring to go at whatever activity I’m about to encounter. In fact I’m writing this very article after having taking a nap and I feel like I’m typing a million words a minute. Fact is, I know I’m typing faster and I know I’m just “on it” more. If you ever want to get more work done in a shorter period of time, take an hour long nap. You will not regret it.
3. It saves time. Yes, it saves time
You might be reading this and think to yourselves, “but you’re wasting an hour!” You’d be right in knowing that yes, I did spend an hour doing “nothing.” But I didn’t. Trust me guys, I friggin’ feel like Superman right now and I cannot tell you how much more quickly I work after being refreshed from a nap. Sometimes I think I can get double done in the span of an hour. It saves time, believe me, it does.
What if you work in an office and you’re not allowed to nap?
Ask your boss if you can take a daily nap. I’m dead serious. I know this is though. I know this is unconventional. But if you can somehow pitch your boss that this is going to increase your productivity tenfold then it’s worth making the ask. What’s the worst than can happen? They say no. If they do, look for another job. I mean I’m kidding but I’m kind of not. If you don’t have a boss who wants your productivity to increase then you don’t want that boss. Naps should unequivocally be allowed in the workplace.
The next time you make fun of me for my sleep patterns know that I’m likely more energized during the day and considerably healthier than you are. Thanks.