We've all seen the studies that sing the praises of naps. While the benefits are well documented, it's worth digging deeper to make sure that your quick catnap won't cause any problems with the rest of your daily and nightly routines. It turns out that there are some times when you should definitely avoid naps to make sure your performance throughout the day and nighttime sleep are the best they can be.
When should you avoid taking a nap? Napping at the wrong times during the day or too close to certain tasks or activities can do more harm than good—so can napping for too long. Whether you nap as part of your daily routine or on an as-needed basis, you'll get better results if you schedule it to avoid problems.
It goes without saying that napping while you're at work, in school, or on the phone with your mom is potentially harmful to your prospects, your reputation, and maybe even your health. But even if your napping habits always include a proper setting, you should be aware of specific times during the day that you should avoid.
To Nap or Not to Nap?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are two kinds of napping: planned napping and emergency napping. Regardless of what type of napping you do, a nap can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. Napping also has psychological benefits related to relaxation and rejuvenation.
For healthy sleepers, there are plenty of good reasons to take advantage of what naps have to offer. If, on the other hand, you find yourself needing naps when nothing else about your daily or nightly routine has changed, that can indicate sleep conditions like sleep apnea. These naps might help you get through the day, but you'll need to consult a physician to find a better long-term solution.
Let's look at the times when you should avoid taking a nap to make sure that you don't have to deal with any negative impacts on the rest of your day and night:
In the Morning
It can be tempting to hit that snooze button multiple times or to reset your alarm so that you can get that extra half-hour of sleep. No matter how good that additional five, fifteen, or even thirty minutes of sleep feels at the time—it isn't going to offer you much later in the day. Once your alarm raises you from a deep, restful sleep, the benefits of dozing are fleeting.
It's far better to break the inertia and meet your day head-on than to let the alarm clock drag you kicking and screaming out of your bed through several brief naps.
In the Late Afternoon or Evening
Most experts agree that the ideal time for a nap is between 12:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon. If you nap any later than that, you run the risk of struggling to fall asleep at night. It's easy enough to see how this can quickly turn into a vicious cycle of not-enough sleep at night and increased dependence on naps during the day.
Before an Activity That Requires Coordination or Concentration
Sleep inertia is a side effect of napping that you really can't avoid. The likelihood and severity of sleep inertia go up when naps last longer than 20 minutes. While you can't do anything to eliminate the possibility that you will feel groggy or disoriented after a nap, you can minimize the likelihood and severity by keeping your naps brief.
While post-nap disorientation might last only a few minutes, it is a good idea to give yourself at least a half-hour to return to an alert state before doing anything that requires coordination or concentration.
A comfortable mattress is a great way to ensure better sleep at night and make sure that you avoid the need for naps altogether or to make your napping habit even more enjoyable. Shovlin Mattress Factory has a wide selection of quality mattresses to fit the tastes of any sleeper.
Reach out to our team of experts and start sleeping better today!