Sleep Disorders

Updated 27 March 2018

Here's why you should be napping – and for just 30 minutes

A nap can offer a quick recharge in the middle of a busy day.

While napping can't replace a good night's sleep, it can offer a quick recharge in the midst of a busy day.

Traditionally, employers don't encourage napping at work, but that kind of thinking may prove to be antiquated.

Feeling 'awesome'

According to a previous Health24 article, because of your circadian rhythm, it's also natural for your body to want to rest after being awake for around seven or eight hours.

According to recent research, extra sleep can help boost your memory, reduce stress and enhance your sex life. Naps can also make you "feel awesome".

In addition, napping may:

  • Curb your appetite
  • Protect your heart
  • Regulate your sex drive
  • Improve your focus
  • Improve your mental health
  • Help curb anxiety
  • Increases fitness
  • Lower your diabetes risk
  • Help prevent dementia

You only need 30 minutes

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), an American nonprofit organisation that promotes understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, says a nap shouldn't be longer than 30 minutes, to prevent a groggy feeling when you wake up.

So where can you sneak in a few minutes of shuteye? The NSF offers these potential hideaways:

  • At home – Consider black-out shades and a white noise machine so your room will be as dark and least-distracting as possible.
  • Between classes – Lots of schools offer quiet areas that can be used to recharge during free time.
  • Outdoors – Fresh air is ideal for napping.
  • At work – If you have an office with a door, you have a suitable place for napping. For those in a cubicle, think about reserving a conference room.
  • At the gym – Many gyms have cushy chairs that may be ideal for napping.

Image credit: iStock


Ask the Expert

Sleep disorders expert

Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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