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5 Reasons To Take A Nap (Plus 6 Ways To Make The Most Of It)

Reasons To Take A Nap When You Feel Tired

I have to admit, I’ve never been a big fan of naps. Even if I feel exhausted, it’s difficult for me to fall asleep in the middle of the day, and even when I do manage to take a nap, I always wake up feeling groggy and disoriented. My anti-nap stance mystifies my husband and daughter, who are both more pro-naps (and pro-sleep in general) than anyone else I know!

Related: This Is The Best DIY For People Who Struggle To Fall Asleep

But even though I don’t personally enjoy taking naps, that doesn’t mean I think they’re pointless. In fact, I recently learned about some interesting benefits of napping that made me wish I were better at it!

So I thought that at the very least, I could pass that information along to you in today’s post. So today I’ll be sharing 5 benefits you can experience when you take a nap when you’re feeling sleepy, along with a few bonus tips for getting the most out of every minute of it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling more well-rested already! ;-)

5 Reasons To Take A Nap When You’re Tired

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1. Improves Mental Performance

Taking a nap when you’re feeling tired can boost your mental performance. You may feel more alert, or notice improvements in your short-term memory.

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2. Improves Physical Performance

Grabbing a quick power nap can also have physical benefits too. A 2007 study found that after a night of limited sleep, participants who took a post-lunch nap recorded faster sprint times than their no-nap counterparts.

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3. Reduces Stress And Anxiety

After a night of limited or low-quality sleep, your body produces a stress hormone called noradrenaline, which contributes to the tired and lethargic feeling we all associate with being sleep-deprived. But grabbing an afternoon nap can help balance out your levels of noradrenaline and other stress hormones, and ultimately help to put you in a better mood and mental state.

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4. Lessens Food Cravings

Are you susceptible to the “afternoon sleepies?” It may be a natural result of the digestive process, but that post-lunch energy crash can leave you reaching for junk food, sodas, or energy drinks to help keep you going. But grabbing a quick power nap instead can help you feel more focused and less stressed, which will make it much easier to resist those cravings for sugary drinks and junk food that will only send your energy levels further into a tailspin.

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5. Benefits Heart Health

According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, people who take naps regularly may be less likely to die from heart disease than those who don’t. So go ahead and “rest your eyes,” as my dad liked to claim he was doing while nodding off in his favorite recliner—it’s good for your heart!

6 Tips For Taking Better Naps

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1. Keep It Short

A luxurious two-hour snooze can be nice every once in a while, but experts agree that if you take a nap between 12-20 minutes long, you can maximize the benefits while minimizing drawbacks. A five-minute power nap won’t benefit you much, and staying asleep too long could lead to grogginess and make it hard to fall asleep at bedtime.

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2. Time It Right

Another way to maximize the benefits of a nap and minimize potential drawbacks is to take it at the right time. Here’s a handy Nap Planner tool you can use to time your naps just right based on the time you woke up and the length of nap you’re shooting for.

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3. Take A “Caffeine Nap”

Some sleep experts recommend the “caffeine nap” method, which involves drinking a cup of coffee or a caffeinated soda before taking a 10-15 minute nap. The goal is to wake up around the same time the caffeine kicks in, so you’ll feel focused, energized, and ready to get back to work. (But if falling asleep on command isn’t one of your strong suits, this one could be a bit tricky to pull off.)

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4. Hit The Lights

To make sure your nap time is actually restful, you may need help creating a dark, quiet environment. Consider using an eye mask to block out light and a pair of earplugs to block out loud noises and distracting sounds. (Some people need a quiet environment to fall asleep, but I prefer to use a white noise app.)

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If you’re looking for the right kind of eye mask for napping, I suggest getting one that’s contoured to fit around your eyes without pressing down on them, like this. It’s perfect for napping because it will block out the light without messing up your eye makeup.

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5. Know That Resting Is Better Than Nothing

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to take a nap you feel you need, you just can’t seem to fall asleep. But that’s okay—you can still reap many of the benefits of taking a nap just from resting quietly. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths, and you’ll be feeling refreshed in no time!

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6. Get Plenty Of Sleep

Grabbing a quick snooze during the day can be beneficial, but many of those benefits are associated with eliminating a sleep deficit. If you’re tired because you’re not getting enough sleep at night, of course getting more sleep in the form of a nap will help you feel less tired.

But there’s another way to reap those benefits—get better sleep (and more of it) at night! You won’t need to rely on the benefits of napping if you already feel well-rested.

How do you feel about napping during the day?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • I’m still a napper. I don’t turn my lights out. If l do l end up waking up disoriented and think it’s nighttime. I don’t nap as long as l used to. Part of it before was out of whack hormones and my iron levels being messed up.

  • I am way older than you are by over thirty years, Jillee, and I love that advice regarding naps. Now I will no longer feel guilty if I take a nap in the afternoon. Thank you, thank you!!!

  • I try to rest/nap for 20-30 minutes in the early afternoon and it makes all the difference, including that I sleep better at night. If one isn’t use to it, it may take a couple of weeks of training. I always close my eyes and I have a specific piece of music, intended for meditation, which is 20 minutes long, that I listen to (but it is the only time I listen to it). 99% of the time I fall asleep, but even if I don’t I feel much more rested. I then have a cup of green tea after my nap. I love nap time!

  • Those eye masks are awesome, I have a few pairs that I rotate between. They can even be put in the washing machine (but I don’t put mine in the dryer)! They are supposed to be especially good because they don’t press down on your eyes, which can affect your R.E.M. sleep.

  • We are definitely pro naps at our house. From the time I was little my mom would always says if us kids would just let her have a certain amount of uninterrupted time she would be fine. I didn’t really take naps growing up. I do now if I can sneak one. If I’m working an early shift I try to get take one when I get home. Also hormonal havoc can make it almost a must for me to re -charge.

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