on the fifth day of eaten’, drink in’ and be merryin’, my true love said to me, “it’s Sunday, have a nap”
If you have ever studied in post-secondary education, been a shift worker, been training for a sport or live an fairly active lifestyle or maybe you had been a dog or cat and/or were Einstein in a past life…you, like me, may be quite fond of a good afternoon snooze.
Just like any health/lifestyle related topic out there, there are plenty of ideas. Consider the following for successful snoozin’:
If you find yourself napping for long periods ( > one hour) on a regular basis, go see a physician.
The American Journal of Epidemiology published Cambridge University’s 13 year study on a British population napping and mortality risk. The study revealed that naps over one hour on a frequent basis could be indicative of health problems that could lead to early death. (1)
Longer naps may just make you feel more tired.
If you pass your napping sweet spot you may notice waking up feeling groggy for a period otherwise known as sleep inertia (follow the link to geek out on sleep inertia).
Nap in moderation, too much napping and too long of naps can be a red flag for other (and likely more concerning) health issues
Not only can I hear my mother say “don’t nap after dinner or you won’t sleep”. Many factors can affect our overnight sleep: food & beverage, exercise (or lack thereof), stress (anxiety). Research at the University of Florida (Psych Dept.) in 2008 suggests that in older adults, the body can confuse late-day naps with bedtime, and you could experience more sleep inertia upon waking and difficulty getting a good nights rest at bedtime (2)
Keep ‘er Short and Sweet!
Flinders University’s School of Psychology in 2010 found that brief naps, between 5 and 15 minutes can increase alertness, reduce sleepiness and improve cognitive function. (3)
Be mindful of your snooze habits, notice the length and aftermath of your nap and stick with what works best for you!
For more info on naps, The Boston Globe posted an awesome infographic on How To Nap. Check it.
Dog Nap Model: Remi Harman