10.20.2017

The benefits of napping

Did you know more than 85% of mammals are polyphasic sleepers? That means they sleep for short periods throughout the day. Think of your pet dogs, cats, or guinea pigs. Ever catch them napping? And what about our young kiddo's and elderly….do they nap?

There is a reason for that and unfortunately, at least in America, we are so busy, so driven, so pressed to get things done, that napping and sleeping often fall to the wayside.

To me, a good nap is 10-30 minutes long and guess what?! This falls into industry standards of the proper time length for a nap. I often aim for the shorter naps (15-20 minutes tops) but I was happy to know I was on target with length even if a nap happens once in a blue moon.

Naps can be categorized as planned, emergency, or habitual. I am the emergency napper. "Darling, I need to catch a few z's right now or I am going to collapse!" Planned napping is just like it sounds. You schedule it into your day. Hmmm….maybe a 20 minute nap today at 2:00 pm? OK! It is on my schedule. Habitual napping happens each day, same time, same place, kinda like those nap schedules you tried to have with your kiddo's when they were young. Oh how I  miss those days! I would either nap or run on the treadmill while darling slumbered.

Naps can improve alertness and performance but don't go too long or they will leave you groggy and may negatively impact your sleep performance that night.

But are they any other benefits to napping?

Yes! Napping can improve your memory, prevents burnout and information overload, heightens your senses and creativity, improves your mood, and improves your health as when you sleep your body releases growth hormone. This boosts your immune system and is a natural combatant to cortisol, or your stress hormone. Growth hormone also aid in muscle recovery and that is good news for runners. Hey, it may even increase your running performance!

Click HERE to learn about factors that impact running performance.

Some argue that longer naps are acceptable for certain reasons, such as resting your mind for a test, but please, don't nap too close to bedtime. You need at least 3 hours of awake time post nap to get a good night's sleep too.

Personally, I do not like long naps. They mess with me so I guess I am the "caffeine boost" energizing 15 minute napping type of gal. I wonder what darling daughter will think if I become a habitual napper?

"Mom, you are so boring!"

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my occasional naps.

Daily Bible Verse: And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. ~ Mark 6:31

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