Health Benefits of Napping (Adult Nap Time Can Be Healthy!)
At some point in time everyone has felt that mid-afternoon energy crash and the siren song of the adult nap. The good news is there are health benefits of napping that make them something you may want to start purposefully including in your daily or weekly routine!
While a nap is a short period of sleep outside of your typical sleeping schedule, it’s important to note that for an adult nap to be beneficial it should be kept short. Prolonged naps can accidentally have adverse effects on your daily function and that’s the opposite of what you want.
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of napping as an adult and best practices for taking a nap as part of your afternoon activities!
Different Types of Naps
Before hopping directly into the health benefits of napping let’s talk about the types of naps you can take. Did you know there are categories of healthy adult naps? These types of naps are categorized by the function they serve and what you can intend to get out of them.
Some of the different types of adult naps include:
- Recovery Naps: Ideal for helping compensate for sleep deprivation
- Prophylactic Naps: Taken in preparation for sleep loss (such overnight workers to stay alert)
- Restorative/Essential Naps: May help boost the immune system when you’re sick
- Appetitive Nap: Taken for relaxation, these naps may help boost your mood and energy levels
As you can see, different types of adult naps can be useful to optimize the health benefits of napping. Each of these can be adjusted to meet your needs, but some tips for how to take the best adult naps remain constant (more on that below!).
Health Benefits of Napping as an Adult
So then what are the health benefits of naps? We’ve seen that different types of adult naps can be useful for different reasons, but what can you expect from your daily afternoon snooze?
A few simple health benefits of napping as an adult include:
- Boosting your memory and cognitive function
- Helping you maintain productivity throughout the work day
- Elevating your mood and reducing stress
- Preparing you for upcoming sleep deprivation
Health Benefits of Napping #1: Memory Boost
First up, studies have shown that daytime napping may help boost your memory and help you retain information learned earlier in the day similarly to the effects of a full night’s sleep. In addition to improving memory, these daytime adult naps may also help improve cognitive function to draw connections between things you learn or observe.
Health Benefits of Napping #2: Increasing Productivity
Short mid-day adult naps may also help improve your productivity while working! While no one wants to be caught sleeping on the job, taking a short break for a 10-minute nap during the workday may actually help keep your performance from tanking as the day goes on. Instead of feeling that afternoon drag, you’ll be energized and ready to nail that meeting!
Health Benefits of Napping #3: Managing Stress Levels and Elevating Mood
Similar to the health benefits of napping for memory and cognitive function, studies have also shown there may be a correlation between an afternoon nap and elevating your mood. A short nap may also help you manage stress levels more easily.
If you don’t have time to nap (or you’re at the office and feel uncomfortable doing so), consider spending those 10 minutes meditating to reduce stress. Even though it’s not technically a nap, quiet meditation can be an effective way to relax your mind and boost your mood!
Health Benefits of Napping #4: Prepping for Sleep Deprivation
When it comes to the health benefits of naps, it’s not all about daytime boosts. Prophylactic naps are critically important for those who may be facing excessively long shifts (i.e. doctors, nurses, or other employees with long work hours) or overnight workers who are unable to keep to the body’s natural circadian rhythm for sleeping. These naps can help give them a jump on staying awake and alert to meet their needs as required.
Tip: For overnight workers, prophylactic naps are best taken in the early morning hours so as not to disturb their adjusted sleep schedule.
Health Benefits of Napping #5: Improving Heart Health
Last, but certainly not least, in our exploration of the health benefits of napping as an adult is how they may help improve heart health naturally. Studies have shown a correlation between sleep and reducing hypertension (high blood pressure). Taking a short adult nap of 20 minutes or less could help reduce stress on the heart and improve blood circulation.
That said, it’s also important to note that while shorter naps may be a way to reduce blood pressure naturally,longer naps outside of the ideal time frame could potentially have an adverse effect. This is where it becomes important to learn how to take the best nap to make the most of its benefits.
How to Take the Best Nap
Taking an adult nap doesn’t mean spending all afternoon sleeping! In fact, to get the most from the health benefits of napping it’s important that you keep your afternoon nap short in most cases.
To prevent yourself from oversleeping, make sure you set an alarm to keep your nap between 10 and 20 minutes long. Naps shorter than 10 minutes are not beneficial to you, while naps lasting 30 to 60 minutes are more likely to have adverse effects leaving you feeling tired and worn out rather than energized and rested.
Try these tips for taking adult naps:
- Nap earlier in the day
- Setting an alarm or using a zero gravity chair with smart wakeup programs
- Creating a sleep-friendly environment
- Focus on stress-free naps
Take Adult Naps Earlier in the Day
While taking adult naps may become part of your daily or weekly routine, you don’t want to accidentally mess up your normal sleep cycle at night, either. This is why it’s important to take naps earlier in the day, preferably around the noon hour or a bit before.
If you find yourself unable to nap that early, try sitting quietly for 10 minutes to calm your mind and body each day at that time until it becomes a habit. Then you may find yourself able to nap earlier. Napping later in the day can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night (if you’re struggling with that anyway, we suggest adopting a relaxing night time routine to help!).
Set An Alarm for Your Adult Naps
If you’re at the office, you could use a phone alarm or other device to help. If you’re at home, however, consider a zero gravity chair with smart wakeup programs to bring you gently out of your nap. These multifunctional furniture pieces can be placed in your main living area or even be used as part of a home office setup and may provide incredible health benefits to your body while you rest!
Create a Good Sleeping Environment
To get the most from the health benefits of napping it’s important to have an environment in which you can nap easily. Creating a zen space in your home or choosing a quiet space where you can nap privately and away from distraction is helpful.
If you don’t want to use a bed for a short nap, consider alternatives such as a short nap on a sofa or recliner (as mentioned, sleeping in zero gravity chairs may further enhance your nap!). The most important aspect is to be relaxed and comfortable so you can fall asleep easily and keep your nap within ideal time limits.
Aim for Stress Free Adult Naps
If you’re taking a short adult nap in the afternoon, that’s not the time to run through all your tasks ahead. The goal of many mid-afternoon naps is to alleviate stress. Focus your nap on being a personal time to center yourself and relax. The items you have waiting for you may be handled with more ease once you awaken energized and ready to go!
Whether you’re napping at home after choosing a zero gravity chair for your space or finding a quiet place at work to have a quick snooze, the health benefits of napping as an adult may enhance your daily routine. Consider adult naps as part of a self-care commitment and let’s ditch any negative stigma about them. So the next time you’re feeling that midday drag coming on, think about the health benefits of napping and take a quick 10 minute break to boost your day!
Want to learn more about the health benefits of zero gravity chairs? Check out these resources and see how they may change your life: