Why You Should Take a Nap Today
If you’re like most women, you’re probably moving at 100 miles per hour from the moment you wake up until the second you crawl into bed at night, utterly exhausted and drained.
What else are we supposed to do? We have our jobs, family obligations, errands to run, meetings to attend, dinner to cook, dogs to walk. We have to go, go, go!
But here’s the thing—zooming around from one task to the next is going to catch up with you eventually. The only way to do what you gotta do while avoiding burnout is to hit the pause button during the day.
And by that I mean you should take a nap.
There’s this stigma surrounding people who nap during the day. They’re seen as lazy or selfish. And some people take pride in being super busy.
But nappers aren’t lazy or selfish. In fact, they’re more efficient, focused, and energetic than non-nappers.
When I say “nap” I’m not talking about one of those 2-hour “leave the planet” snooze fests. A nap that long will bring you into REM sleep, and you’ll wake up groggier than when you started.
If your body wants hours of sleep in the middle of the day, it means you’re not getting enough restful sleep at night. Click here for tips on getting enough sleep at night.
A nap is 20-30 minutes long and can occur wherever you are comfortable: in your bed, on the couch, in a chair, or curled over your desk. Set a timer, dim the lights if you can, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. A nap is very light sleeping, but the benefits go deep.
Benefits of Naps
- You’ll have increased focus after you wake up. Plowing through the day when your body and mind are worn out is setting yourself up to make mistakes (and we don’t want that). Napping will help you recharge and think more clearly when you resume your work.
- You’ll be less likely to crave junk food or caffeine. During an afternoon slump, your body is craving energy, so many of us turn to sugary or caffeinated snacks. But a nap will give your body real energy without the inevitable crash that junk food brings.
- Your problem-solving skills will be activated. If you’re stuck on a problem and can’t come up with a solution, taking a short nap will give you time to rest your conscious mind. Meanwhile, your subconscious mind will perk up with answers you might never have considered if you hadn’t rested.
If napping has all these benefits, why don’t more people take naps? Well, it goes back to those negative associations with napping, but I want you to push past your objections and give napping a try anyway.
- “I have kids. I’ll sleep when I die.” I get it. Moms have the workload of 10 people. That said, you’ll be a better mom to your kids if you’re well-rested and able to attend to their needs. You’ve probably heard that you should nap when they nap. It might be tempting to do some housework while the little ones are asleep, but a short nap will give you energy to get through the rest of the day and avoid morphing into Grumpy Mommy.
- “I work in an office building, and there’s nowhere to nap.” See if you can find an empty conference room and take a quick nap there. If you drive your car to work, then you could nap in your car (or park in a nearby parking lot for your nap if you don’t want to be seen by coworkers).
- “I have too much to do. Napping will put me behind schedule.” This is a biggie because so many of us believe that continuing to work even though we’re tired is what we’re supposed to do. But have you ever been so tired that you can’t remember what you just read? Or worse, made a mistake because you weren’t focusing? Do it for your coworkers, clients, and yourself—take a nap!
When was the last time you took a really good nap?
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I’ve already planned to take a nap this afternoon! I know I didn’t get enough sleep last night, and I’m looking forward to getting home from work and taking a nap first thing!
I look forward to my naps too. It’s a nice break during my busy day. 🙂
I love taking naps but don’t get to do it much anymore. You are so right, I should definitely start. They are so refreshing and I get a lot more accomplished after them. I used to nap before my training sessions and I found my performance to be much better 🙂
That’s a great idea to nap before a workout. I’ll have to try that. 🙂
I don’t take naps, but Mike will from time to time. It is such a nice habit to get into. I always feel rested but could see taking a quick one in my car on one of my breaks at work. 🙂
I use naps as my reward when I get a big project done. They help me calm down and come back to center.
I really needed this! Thanks. 🙂
Thanks, Dara! Now go take a nap. 🙂
I love naps. I don’t take them often, but occasionally I need to take one. I never understood as a silly kid how worn out being an adult can make you, but I will never complain about a nap these days. I usually give myself about 45-60 minutes for a nap because it takes me about 10-15 minutes to even release tension.
Giving yourself 90 minutes does let you get a whole REM cycle in, but you should wake up not groggy if you’ve gone the whole cycle. It’s waking up mid-cycle that makes you groggy. Any time I know I won’t be able to get my whole night’s sleep I try to make sure and schedule my sleep limit in 90 minute intervals (3 hours, 4.5, 6, etc)
Thanks, Megan. That’s a good tip to schedule your sleep time around the REM cycles if you can’t get a full night’s sleep…something I remember from my college days. I sometimes need 10 minutes or so to calm down before I can nap too.