I have never been a morning person. I don’t like using an alarm clock to wake up. My ability to function soon after waking is severely limited. Coffee is a critical requirement for getting me to 10AM. If I must awaken before the crack of 8, then I’m gonna need a nap in the afternoon! So I might be a bit biased in asking the question; “Are naps good for you?”. Just sayin’…
Remember when you were a little kid, and your mom told you it was naptime? Oh, how you fought and cried and stomped up to your room! “I’ll show her!”, you muttered to yourself. “I’ll lay here in my bed and pout until it’s time to get up!” And five minutes later you were sound asleep, dreaming about sugarplums and candy canes. Yup, little kids are dumb! They just don’t know how good they had it. If you were to ask one of my kids when they were wee, “Are naps good for you?” they’d have crossed their arms and stuck out their bottom lips. No, kids really are dumb.
So, taking kids out of my very objective (not!) research, I present to you my study detailing the 5 benefits of napping. If you are doing your own research, hit me up with any other benefits you may come across. It’s good to have these studies peer reviewed. Don’t want people to think this is biased in any way…
1. Napping Makes You Happy
Well, it makes me happy! Taking a nap can turn that frown upside down. It’s true! According to a study by the University of Michigan in 2015, nappers were better able to handle frustrating situations than non-nappers. People who enjoy short naps tend to wake in a better mood than before the nap. Feeling grumpy? Take a nap instead of a chill pill.
Now notice I said “short nap.” What do I mean by that? Most sleep research considers 20-30 minutes to be the ideal nap length during the day. If you sleep longer than that, you risk falling into a deeper sleep, and when you wake from that, you’re gonna feel pretty groggy. On the other hand, you could sleep up to an hour and a half and awake feeling refreshed and energized (and happy!). My research leads me to believe that longer is better. I can’t imagine lying down and sleeping for 20 minutes. Heck, it probably takes me that long to fall asleep! So for me, “short nap” is probably an hour. And that still might not be long enough!
Sometimes taking a nap is just taking advantage of some free time. On the rare occasions I have the house to myself, I’ll consider taking a nap. If I don’t have anything pressing to do, I think a nap is a reasonable use of my free time. And that always makes me happy.
2. Napping Lets You Avoid Hard Stuff
When I’m learning a new skill, or trying to remember an old one, my brain gets tired. It sends me a message that says, “Hey bro, this stuff is really hard. I’m getting sleepy. Let’s walk over to that nice, comfy sofa and have a lie-down. C’mon, whaddya say?” And I am always happy to comply. Because my brain is smart and always tells me what to do.
So when stuff gets hard, go have a nap. (See number 12 in this post for reference) Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. You’ll thank me after you wake up.
3. Napping Makes You Smart
Did you know that there are some companies that have installed “nap rooms” in their places of work? And they actually schedule nap times for their employees? It’s true! It’s because these innovative businesses already know what I’m telling you here in point number three; Naps make you smart!
Remember way back when you were little, and your parents sent you to kindergarten? At our kindergarten, the nice teacher had us kids lie down after our lunch to take a wee nap. We’d all lie on these little mats with blankets and shut our eyes pretending to sleep. The teacher knew that having little growing minds take a bit of a nap was the best way for us to grow up smart. It wasn’t because we were running around like little Tasmanian Devils hopped up on sugar and she needed a break otherwise she might do something she’d regret, and it was still hours from quitting time. No, she was only looking out for our future well-being!
4. Naps Make You Look Better
Okay, I might be paraphrasing a bit here.
I took this from thesleepdoctor.com
Sleep is restorative to the body, inside and out. I think of it as nature’s Botox. Sleep deprivation can make you look tired and fatigued, less healthy and less attractive, according to research. Naps that help supplement daily sleep amounts—without interfering with nighttime rest—can keep you looking young, healthy, and full of energy.The Benefits of Napping, by Dr. Michael Breus
Hey, I’m all about “nature’s Botox”. If napping is a part of my daily health regimen, you know, along with reducing my intake of spicy pork rinds and pints of Guinness, then I’m doing good things for my body.
Remember Billy Crystal’s character on Saturday Night Live, Fernando Lamas? “You look marvelous!” It’s true, it’s not just about how you feel, but also how good you look! So do yourself a favour and go have a nap. It’s what I do to keep my youthful, virile good looks.
5. Napping Makes You More Creative
Also true! I had a nap in the middle of writing this post. And then my creativity shot way up! Can’t you tell? If I hadn’t done that, this post would be boring, listless (see what I did there?), and probably more factual.
But seriously, if you’re not getting enough sleep, then any work you do is going to suffer. Whether you’re writing a blog post or performing brain surgery, having enough sleep does wonders for your performance. And on the creative side of things, napping boosts the activity on the right side of your brain, the side responsible for artistic endeavours.
Being an Aquarius, I’m all about being creative. And why are Aquarians so damned creative? It’s because our birthdays are in the dead of winter. The days are short, cold, and there are no holidays in sight. So what are you going to do to when it’s too miserable to go outside? Go back to bed and take a nap! Then wake up feeling refreshed, happy, smart, and creative.
So there you have it, my highly scientific, soon-to-be peer reviewed, exhaustive research answering the question “Are naps good for you?”. Let me know what you think, and if you have any other benefits to add, put ’em in the comments below so everyone benefits. And now, because this research study was so exhaustive, guess what I’m going to do? Yup, nap time!
Wake me if something interesting happens!
I AM and always have been a morning person, likely stemming from 3am alarm clocks while I was in the media business since the age of 17. I agree with you in point #1 that it takes me more than 20-30 minutes (usually) just to fall asleep, let alone dosing off immediately and rising 20 minutes later feeling refreshed. Do I envy people who can just fall asleep in 30 seconds and arise to a little alarm they’ve set for 20 minutes later? You bet. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I hear you, David. It’s not fair that someone can nod off in such short time. My wife has the ability to fall into a dead sleep in mid conversation!
once I realized that this was about resting and not about the thickness of the material in a paint roller, I started again and enjoyed it even more than the first time. NAP …..Not Actively Participating….how’s that?
You know, Peter, not everything is about paint! Sometimes it’s about film (again, not paint film!), or other things like sleeping for short periods in the afternoon. But I’m glad you figured that out when re-reading it!
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz honk pffft huh wha? Zzzzzzzzzzz Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Enjoy your nap, knowing you’ll soon wake up feeling refreshed and looking marvellous!