Naps can feel like the most amazing reprieve in the middle of an exhausting day. However, some people are afraid that napping will ruin their night time sleeping patterns.
But are their concerns unfounded? The truth is that there’s a right way and a wrong way to nap if you want to achieve maximum restful sleep at night. So, if you want to catch that midday nap and still get a good night’s sleep, you’ll want to keep these things in mind.
Why Napping Is Different for Adults
Children seem to nap just fine without interrupting their night time sleep. In fact, it’s highly recommended that they nap in addition to their sleep at night. So why can’t adults do the same thing? The answer lies in circadian rhythm and human development.
A person’s circadian rhythm responds to daylight and darkness, sending cues throughout the body to signal when they should be tired or wakeful. Babies and children still have immature circadian rhythms, so they tend to sleep more frequently and in shorter bursts. But adults have matured rhythms that encourage a more regular sleeping pattern of being awake throughout the day and sleeping only at night.
Should you nap as an adult? Well, the answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no.
The Benefits of Adult Naps
While children need naps due to their undeveloped bodies, adults might need naps for different reasons. You might feel tired often due to work stress, family responsibilities, and general adult tasks.
Taking a daily nap can benefit your mood, energy levels, and mental performance — when done correctly. After a nap, you should wake up feeling less tired, more alert, and more positive. Napping can also improve your memory and cognitive function, especially if you are often deprived of night time sleep.
While there are many health benefits to adult napping, there are some drawbacks as well.
Bonus read: NASA nap study blog
What Can Go Wrong with Napping
Unfortunately, many people experience grogginess and confusion when they wake up from daytime naps. You may even feel less rested than before you slept.
This is because of the way the adult sleep cycle works. In healthy adults, a full sleep cycle lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. If you wake up before your sleep cycle is complete, you may feel off or unrested.
Napping can also throw off your circadian rhythm and make night time sleep more difficult. However, there are ways to combat this problem so you can enjoy restful naps and catch up on some much-needed slumber.
How to Nap Without Ruining Your Night time Sleep
The number-one tip we have is to keep your naps short. Napping for 10 to 20 minutes at a time is the best way to catch up on sleep without causing problems at night.
You should also avoid napping later in the afternoon and in the evening. Napping so close to the typical adult bedtime could interfere with your sleep, so we recommend napping before 3 p.m. if possible.
Finally, make sure that you build in time to wake up and feel alert again before starting any activities. With proper nap protocol, you can enjoy restful naps without ruining your nighttime sleep patterns.
Enjoy Guilt-Free Naps and Better Sleep
A well-timed nap can feel amazing and just what you need to finish out the day. Just keep these tips in mind so your sleep doesn’t suffer because of it!