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Napping isn’t just for babies. Many people have found the benefits from a little daytime nap have helped them in their daily lives. It’s been noted that nap culture in Europe (specifically Mediterranean countries) is different than America, with siestas taken during the workday as part of a normal routine. The topic of deliberate napping has led to various studies examining naps across countries and its effects on cardiovascular disease along with several other benefits. The primary findings have been that naps can be beneficial, as long as they don’t become excessively long.

Benefits of Napping

Several benefits have been attributed to taking a nap. According to the Mayo Clinic, naps help with:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Improved performance, like quicker reaction time and better memory

Additional studies have shown that short naps, between 10-30 minutes, can actually lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in most adults. The primary reason? By reducing stress through a relaxing nap, heart health can be improved.

Potential Drawbacks

Word of caution when it comes to napping: going overboard can actually be detrimental to your health. In the same study that showed short naps lowered cardiovascular disease, it was noted that naps over 30 minutes showed an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, with a continuous increase the longer the nap period. This affect on heart health is caused from the issues that come with longer naps like sleep inertia. If you’ve ever taken a nap and woken up feeling groggy and more fatigued than before you slept, that’s the effects of sleep inertia. Additional issues can come from taking a nap too late in the day. By resting too close to when you normally sleep for the night, you will have more difficulty falling asleep naturally. For those that suffer from insomnia or poor sleep quality, napping can actually compound these issues.

Best Naps

You should keep your naps short, no longer than 30 minutes, to avoid added grogginess and fatigue. Make sure that you don’t nap too late in the day, 3 PM is the standard cut off, in order to make sure that you keep a regular sleep schedule. 

Lastly, if you’re
experiencing an increased need for naps with no obvious cause, consult your doctor. There may be other issues contributing to your fatigue, like medications, sleep disorders, or other medical conditions.