Should You Nap During the Day?

As the afternoon slump rolls in, you may be tempted to close the blinds and rest for a few minutes. There are some thoughts that napping during the day can help you refocus and be more productive throughout the afternoon. Others think that the disruption to the day has the opposite effect. As with most things, both trains of thought might be right.

The truth is, there are pros and cons to napping. Whether or not a nap is beneficial for you depends on a variety of things, including when and how long you nap.

Benefits of Napping During the Day

  • Letting your body relax and reset
  • A nap can boost your energy levels
  • Increases your focus
  • Allows you to start again, with a better mood and outlook
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased reaction time
  • Increased memory

Negatives of Napping During the Day
Your reasons for napping may actually backfire if you sleep too long or take your nap at the wrong time of the day. You may suffer from sleep inertia, meaning you will be more tired than you were before the nap. This grogginess can affect your mood, production, and focus.

Napping too long or too late in the day may impact your normal nightly sleep routine, causing issues if the pattern begins to cycle.

What is the Best Way to Take a Nap?
One of the best things to remember is to keep your nap short. You don’t need that long to benefit from the recharging power of a nap. Shoot for 10 – 20 minutes. Any longer than that may cause issues.

Nap earlier in the afternoon, before 3:00 pm, if possible. Napping later than that may impact your sleep at night. Plus, if you’re working you might not be able to get back in the flow of things before the end of the day.

Pay attention to your environment. You may think that since it’s only a short nap your environment won’t matter but it does. You want to nap in a darker, cooler room in a comfortable position. This will allow you to get the most out of your nap and not wake feeling half refreshed.

Increased Sleepiness During the Day
If you notice you are experiencing increased fatigue during the day, take a look at your nighttime sleep schedule. Are you getting 7-9 hours a night? Has something changed that is disrupting your sleep? If everything seems the same on that end, you might consider talking with your physician to see if you might have an underlying medical condition.

While there are varied thoughts on whether naps are positive or negative, it does seem that they can benefit you if you nap correctly, within the parameters set above. If you’re not able to nap, make sure you reset in another way during the day. You might take a walk around your building at work or focus on breathing. Both of these things can be beneficial as well.