7 Reasons You Ought to Take a Nap Every Day

Guest Post – by Mary Ward

Though most Americans find themselves far too busy to nap during the day, there is actually quite a bit of evidence that suggests that our siesta loving neighbors are more in tune to the needs of our bodies than we are. There has been quite a bit of research that suggests that we are actually meant to nap during the day. Here are seven reasons why you ought to give the old siesta a try.

1. Our bodies seem to be programmed to sleep after lunch. It is believed that our bodies have evolved to trying to drive us out of the midday sun, particularly in countries near the equator. We all tend to get a bit sleepy sometime mid afternoon, because of a slight drop in body temperature. Statistics show that more on the job accidents happen in the mid afternoon, and are often related to sleepiness. In addition, overall performance among employees in all industries has been shown to be at the lowest point of the day about an hour or so after lunch. This afternoon dip in energy happens even if you don’t eat lunch.

2. You’ll feel more alert and able to focus. Research has shown that even a 10 minute nap can increase your performance, alertness and concentration. A short nap is especially beneficial if you’ve had poor sleep the night before.

3. You may sleep better at night. Some people report better sleep at night if they take a short nap during the day simply because they are not as exhausted when bedtime comes. Being “over tired” is a common reason for insomnia, which a short nap may alleviate. Beware, however, of long naps, which can make it more difficult to sleep at night. Ten to thirty minutes or so is best. Sleeping more than 30 minutes may put your body into a heavier mode of sleep, causing you to feel groggy when you wake up.

4. You may be able to reduce the number of hours you sleep at night. By taking a daytime nap, you may be able to reduce the number of hours you need at night – sometimes by as much as 2 hours.

5. Napping may improve your ability to learn. The National Sleep Foundation has reported research from Harvard that shows that sleep is key to learning, and that napping in addition to nighttime sleep can improve your ability to retain what you’re taught.

6. It improves driving safety – Sleep experts report that taking a short nap before you begin a long drive can reduce your chances of a “drowsy driving” accident. They also recommend that you pull over and take a 20 minute nap if you feel drowsy. Following that nap with a caffeinated drink before you hit the road again is best.

7. It can reduce stress – Since stress is often tied to being tired and overwhelmed, a short nap during the day can be a great stress reliever. You’ll wake feeling more refreshed and better able to cope with the stresses of the day.

At the end of the day, the goal is to get the optimal amount of sleep for your body. Sufficient sleep improves performance, health, learning and simply makes us feel better. And, the good news is, that using naps to get that is just as good as sleeping through the night.

Mary Ward blogs about various health care job issues, including how to study to obtain a degree from ultrasound technician schools.

The Sleep Blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Instead, this website provides general information for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider if you have questions or concerns regarding any medical condition or treatment.

15 thoughts on “7 Reasons You Ought to Take a Nap Every Day”

  1. Trying to decide if I agree with your #1. I mean, of course I FEEL sleepy, but that’s usually because I’ve eaten foods that always make people feel sluggish. I don’t know. I think that if we all ate more organic salads or sushi at lunch time, we’d probably be good to go.

  2. Today we published an article entitled “Should You Allow Your Employees to Nap at Work?” featuring an explanation of the benefits of a short afternoon nap along with tips on how to create an office napping policy. A nap sounds like a great way to boost employee productivity and morale at little or no cost.
    Jay B. (Intuit Small Business)

  3. well…but of course we should be able to take a 20 to 30 min nap at midday,every day,even when we don’t feel tired. In fact,it’s not important wether we fall asleep or not…just the relaxation we get when we ‘re lying down or recline our seat,shut our eyes off & thinking to…nothing…is good enough.Some specialists even thinks that that nappy-time worth a good 1 to 2 hours of good sleep so,go ahead( and please do not feel guilty about it)and close your eyes for a few min..you’llbe more productive, alert and pleasant to others who are to be around you all day long! I’ll let you go now cuz it IS my nap-time. Hae a great day everyone!

  4. I agree, I am a cook on a tow boat and am up at 3:30 every morning, after breakfast I nap for about 30-45 minutes and am able to stay up thru supper. I go to sleep around 9 every night and up at 3:30….6-6.5 hrs sleep and I feel good all day.

  5. I’m worry, my daughter is 17 she naps about 2h a day, is that bed for you? she sleeps about 6-7 hours at night. Is that save?

    1. No, it’s OK for her to sleep that much. Teenager’s bodies are going through changes; I’ve read teens should get about 10 hours a day, just as small children do. If she is always cold, slugish , has dry skin and gains weight easily though she could have a low producing thyroid.

  6. Apparently the majority of cultures around the world actually prefer biphasic sleep as the norm. That is, a main nightly sleep plus a shorter one at noon. So the North American practice of having one monolithic sleep isn’t actually the norm.

    Also, in the past most people in America and Western Europe actually split their nightly sleep into two sections because it was so long (people didn’t have much to do in the evenings before convenient electric light!)

  7. I think there would be a lot less stress overall and heart problems and everything in this country if we did get a little extra sleep. days that I am able to nap or get more sleep, I feel so much better, get so much more done and even make healthier eating choices.

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