Napping: good or bad?

Puppies
Photo by Back in the Pack

So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother’s eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was in your head
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

~John Lennon~

The benefits of napping have been argued for years, by the world’s finest sleep statisticians and researchers, with mixed opinions. Some argue napping is bad for you, as it causes instability to your internal clock and sleep disorders, while other believe naps to be very healthy and quite recommend it. General thought is that for every two hours you are awake you accumulate one hour of “sleep debt”. (16 awake and 8 asleep fits nicely into a 24 hour day, eh what?) If you don’t pay off your debt during your nightly sleep, it carries over until you do get it paid off. Your nap probably serves to push back how early you can fall asleep at night.

Lately a new term has been coined by specialists, called “power napping,” that consists in napping a full hour, during which your energy levels should be at a maximum. So in layman’s terms, grabbing an hour’s sleep during the day may be as beneficial as a whole night in bed, according to scientists. Of course some sleep during the night is needed, don’t think  it’s possible for a man, who hasn’t slept for over 24 hours, to recuperate a night time of sleep in the course of one hour. Even the brains agree, as experts say that a full night’s sleep is still necessary for many vital body functions, even though a short sleep may boost learning and memory.

I believe naps to be awesome for most people, including me, but you must keep in mind that not everybody will feel the same way. I’ve heard people reporting nausea, constant headaches and anemia, after waking up from naps. But that’s really just a small proportion of people, if you find yourself among them, then maybe all you need is a good night’s sleep and nothing more. Let’s have a look though on a few more reasons why napping rules:

  1. An increase in alertness and productivity. Napping will replenish your energy levels and thus cause you to be careful to the things around you and be more performant in your tasks. Among the mental abilities sharpened by naps are the capacity to pay sustained attention to a task and to make complicated decisions.
  2. Stress will dim. Napping can be the perfect solution when you’re shoulders are overweighted with decisions and various other issues. Take a well deserver power nap and forget about all your worries. When you wake up, you’ll have a clear head to think things through.
  3. Better memory and learning capabilities. Recent studies proved that even short naps improved people capabilities to assimilate information. What better way to prepare for a examen, than taking short a nap ?
  4. Better health. Plain and simple napping can do wonder for your organism, directly benefiting heart functioning, hormonal maintenance, and cell repair. Basically it helps rejuvenate your body.

Tips for the most out of your naps

  • Avoid caffeine after 3pm. It’s a stimulant that can disrupt your sleep and stay in your system longer than you think; its half-life is four to six hours!
  • If you don’t want to nap a long time, set an alarm.
  • If you don’t have time for a power nap, or don’t feel comfortable napping during the day, try meditation; it gives your body a rest and produces slower brain waves similar to sleep.

19 thoughts on “Napping: good or bad?

  1. Pingback: Ten steps towards a healthy life - ZME life tips

  2. “According to ‘Scientists'”?
    What scientists? Where? In what published journal?

    I’m not trying to be harsh, I just think you have seriously misread something – several things.
    1. There are no reputable recommendations that a one hour nap can replace a whole nights sleep,
    2. powernaps are usually recommended for the time you are *least* awake during the day – ie mid-afternoon,
    3. a powernap is usually 20-40 minutes, as between 45 minutes and 1.5hrs, most people will be in their deep sleep phase, and will suffer from sleep inertia if woken.

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