We’ve all hit that wall in the middle of the afternoon when it’s nearly impossible to keep our eyes open. At that moment, a nap sounds great, but it could actually make you more tired throughout the rest of the day, or not able to fall asleep that night. What’s worse, an intense need for napping may indicate a bigger health problem.
The Benefits of Napping
In many countries, people stop what they’re doing in the middle of the day to take naps. That’s because getting a brief amount of sleep is known to restore alertness, increase reaction time and improve performance – something a lot of employers welcome in the workplace. Many young children need to nap in order to boost their mood as well as improve memory function – and a lot of parents could also benefit from a mid-day relaxing siesta. There’s no question that getting some scheduled sleep in the middle of the day is a good thing.
The Best Time of Day for a Nap
According to the Mayo Clinic, the best time for a nap is mid-afternoon, around 2 or 3 p.m. This is when most of us feel that post-lunch sleepiness. A short nap taken during this time is less likely to interfere with the ability to fall asleep at night. But if you can’t sneak away from your desk at this time of day, try fitting in a few winks during your lunch break to head off afternoon drowsiness.
The Best Length For a Nap
At this point, you’re probably wondering how you’re supposed to get enough sleep during your brief lunch break. It’s because naps should be nice and short, and here’s why:
- When naps last longer than 10-20 minutes, they can leave people with sleep inertia, or a feeling of grogginess that comes with waking up from a deep sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, this is the best length for a nap because it keeps you in the lightest stage of non-REM sleep, making it easier to get up and go upon waking.
- If you nap for 30 to 60 minutes, you’ll hit the deeper stage of sleep where your brain waves slow down, making you feel disoriented when you wake.
- A long nap or a nap taken too late in the day may affect the length and quality of nighttime sleep.
Why Napping Has Drawbacks
In America, our society doesn’t stop for mid-day slumber. We often push through the day with eyes half closed, and then fit in our naps after work. Or if we are lucky enough to fall asleep on a given day – perhaps during the weekend – we stay asleep for too long. Daytime sleep is only beneficial if you know when and how long to nap, or it can make you even more tired for the rest of the day and impair your nighttime sleep.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Means You May Not Be Sleeping at Night
If you’re extremely drowsy,all day and even want to close your eyes while driving, a simple solution like napping may not be the answer. You could be suffering from Sleep Apnea, insomnia, or another sleep disorder. Explain your symptoms to your doctor to find out if there’s a solution that can help you sleep better.
If you’re not getting enough sleep at night because you can’t get comfortable, consider buying a new bed. You may benefit from a mattress that’s more compatible with your preferred sleeping position, or perhaps an adjustable base that can help with back pain or snoring problems. At Beloit Mattress Company, you’ll find beds and bases to help you sleep more soundly each night. Visit one of our stores today to experience for yourself one of our factory-direct mattresses!
Don’t forget to download your exclusive copy of The Ultimate Mattress Buying Guide to make sure you are getting the right type of sleep.