There are varying opinions on whether a daytime nap is good for you or not. Some sleep experts advise against it saying it will cause you problems sleeping at night. On the other hand, much research has identified numerous benefits. Companies including Google, Uber and Huffington Post provide places where employees can take a daytime nap. Special chairs called Energy Pods have been designed for daytime napping and are provided in some workplaces which encourage daytime naps.
Arguments against daytime napping Reasons given against napping include -
may feel disoriented and 'groggy' upon waking up
may have a slight headache upon waking
may interfere with night time sleep, especially if you are an insomniac
long naps have been linked to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, heart disease and diabetes.
Arguments favouring daytime naps Reasons to take a short day time nap include -
lowers blood pressure
decreases risk of heart disease
A study carried out by NASA found a 40 minute nap made some participants as much as 100% more alert. Another study suggested a 20 minute nap could be better for increasing alertness than exercise or a 200mg shot of coffee.
Tips for a beneficial nap To get maximum benefits from a nap -
Limit your nap to no more than 30 minutes. If you nap for longer you risk entering a deeper stage of sleep. This results in you feeling tired and 'groggy' when you wake up. If you sleep too long it may mean you have difficulty sleeping at night.
Take your nap about 2 or 3pm. The best time for an individual will vary depending on whether he/she is an 'early bird' or a 'night owl'. An early bird will benefit from lying down sooner after midday than a night owl.
Use earplugs to block out noise if necessary. Alternatively, listen to a recording of white noise.
Sniff lavender to help you relax.
It seems there are plenty of reasons to take a short nap but what about the evidence linking health problems with napping? Some sleep experts say the problem comes when people take long naps, in excess of 90 minutes.
There is evidence suggesting people with certain health problems are more likely to take long naps because of the health issue rather than the nap causing the problem. It would be wise for anyone who is constantly exhausted and finds they need a really long nap on a regular basis to talk to their doctor. There may be an issue which needs medical treatment.