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April 18, 2012 at 3:52 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

The Benefits of Napping

By Matthew More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Extreme Existence Blog Series

Welcome back to Extreme Existence, where we focus on all of the activities that make life exciting.

My name is Matt and I like to nap.

Actually, I love to nap. There are few things nicer than spending my Sunday afternoon on the couch, watching golf and dozing. One of my favorite things about holidays, like Easter and Thanksgiving, is snoozing for an hour after eating a big dinner. There’s nothing like a good nap. It's embarrassing, but I can't help it.

We often feel this way when we take a nap. We’re embarrassed; we feel lazy; we assume we’re unproductive. However, naps can actually be very beneficial to our health. It allows our bodies to relax, aids quick recuperation, and makes us more productive workers. You should never be embarrassed to take a quick nap. You’re just trying to be healthy.

Health benefits

Sleep is very beneficial. It restores energy, rejuvenates our minds, and relaxes our bodies. However, some of us simply do not get enough sleep at night. Enter napping. Napping helps us to get that extra rest that we may not get during the night. Napping…

  • Relaxes. When you’re having a stressful day, a nap can calm you down. Time spent sleeping helps to calm your breathing, loosen tight muscles, and rest your brain. Ahh, refreshing!
  • Reduces fatigue and raises alertness. Have you been yawning a lot lately? If you’re feeling fatigued, a short nap might be all you need to regain your focus. It will get your mind off of your tiredness and back onto more important things.
  • Perks up your mood. A less fatigued person is going to feel better about life. It’s like coffee. Do you prefer to talk to people before your first cup of coffee or after? I choose after. I would also prefer to be happy post-nap than nap-less and cranky.

How to nap successfully

If you feel fatigued and sleepy, find some time to take a nap today. It doesn’t have to be long; it could be as long as an hour or as short as five minutes. The point is to spend at least a little time resting your body.

Step 1.  Plan ahead. Find a time in your day that will work for a quick doze. Found a time? Good.

Step 2.   Find a place to take your nap. You want a spot with little noise and light. This place should allow you to sleep soundly without interruption. A solid 5 minutes of sleep is better than 20 minutes napping off and on.

Step 3.  Don’t sleep too long. Do you know that feeling you get after a two hour nap? You have that weird taste in your mouth, your hair is all over the place, and you feel super groggy and inattentive. If this happens, your nap was too long. This is different for different people. Some people feel groggy after only 30 minutes, others after 2 hours. Find what works for you.

If your nap was successful, it…

  • Minimized your time while maximizing benefits. You have lots of stuff to do today, but you also only got two hours of sleep last night. What do you do? Well, many people find that a mere ten minutes of napping is enough to get them to be alert and focused throughout the day. Find the right balance for you. 10 minutes can completely change the rest of your day.
  • Improved your performance. You always know if you have had a productive nap by what you do afterward. If your doze was successful, you ought to find yourself invigorated and alert, ready to not only take on tasks, but to do them well. Do you feel this way? Congratulations! Your nap was successful.

Find your napping niche

As I said before, everyone needs sleep in different ways. Some people do not sleep as well at night. Some people need lots of rest, others very little. You must figure out just what kind of nap is right for you. Personally, I only ever need 10 minutes. If I go any longer, I feel groggy, so I keep it short. You, on the other hand, may do better after 20 minutes. It all depends on the person.

I have spoken to many people who do not do well with napping at all. Many people have trouble falling asleep no matter how tired they are. Others will become very groggy after a nap regardless of how long they have been sleeping. If this is your problem, I would recommend not taking naps, but instead being extra careful to get an appropriate amount of sleep every night.

If you’re worn out and feel like taking a nap, don’t be embarrassed. Napping doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It just means you’re getting ready to focus and have a productive day.

Have you napped today? How do you feel after a good nap?

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1 Comment

  • We have a sleeping couch at my house, every time you get horizontal on it you fall asleep! This works out great on a Sunday afternoon!

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