I get made fun of for a multitude of things, one of which being my love for naps. Not only do I enjoy naps when I'm feeling sleep deprived, but I love waking up feeling renewed and productive. Luckily for me, I have a couple scientific reasons that support my napping! Let’s start with a couple caveats to napping:
- If you are an insomniac, it is recommended that you stay away from naps.
- Keep your nap under 30 minutes to ensure you wake up feeling better than you did before you nap. If you take a long(er) nap, you might end up waking up in the middle of a deep sleep cycle, which means you’ll likely feel more groggy and worse than before your nap.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) published a great article about professional athletes and the benefits of napping. I know we are not professional athletes, but at Roam Fitness, we are all still athletes. In this Harvard, Division of Sleep study, the athletes’ performance increased as a result of taking naps. But let’s relate this article to us. A quick nap will help us stabilize our moods, so we may be less cranky during the rest of our day (win!). Sleep, including napping, also has a way of controlling inflammation, rebuilding our muscles and tissues, and speeding up the recovery process from an injury. When we are working hard at Roam, we are putting tiny tears in our muscles in order to see strength gains (in healthy ways). A quick nap during your day can help rejuvenate those muscles; however, not everyone should nap. Dr. Walter, an associate professor in the Applied Health Science Department at Wheaton College, advises: “If you have trouble taking naps, don’t do it... If you have trouble sleeping and taking naps, maybe you don’t need that much sleep. Although the average adult requires eight hours, we know that sleep is a lot like shoe size—it differs according to the individual.” (https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/1427/nap-your-way-to-better-performance-you-snooze-you/)
If anything, take these points with you:
- Keep your sleep time regular.
- We’ve all heard this before: go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, even on the weekends.
- Listen to your body by going to sleep and notice how long you sleep without any artificial interruption (an alarm clock).
- A quick nap will help your learning and memory functions; naps and regular sleep help your body rebuild itself after tough workouts!
Written by Haleigh Reichert, Personal Trainer