Napping, the short sleep championed by young children, students, and various cultures all over the world, is increasing in popularity, with some forward-thinking businesses even providing places for their employees to nap. But whether you’re interested in having a twenty-minute doze during the day or not, here are some things about napping that you might not know.
1) You’d be in good company if you took a nap! Famous nappers include Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci. Einstein felt that napping helped him think more clearly, and Da Vinci apparently took several power naps throughout the day rather than getting a full night’s sleep, although we don’t recommend that!
2) Napping isn’t a sign of laziness. As you might imagine given the famous nappers above, napping is great for increasing alertness, creativity and productivity!
3) If you’re looking for the ideal napping spot, try a hammock! The gentle rocking motion will lull you off to sleep faster, according to a recent study.
4) There are five different kinds of nap. A “nano-nap” is very short, referring to those moments when you nod off for a second on the train. A “micro-nap” is longer at a couple of minutes long, but is still usually unintentional, though maybe it shouldn’t be, as apparently this is a surprisingly good way to make you feel more alert. A mini-nap is longer, up to 20 minutes, while 20 minutes exactly is what people are referring to when they talk about power naps. The final kind of nap can last up to 90 minutes, which is a full sleep cycle. This allows you to go through all the stages of sleep and reap their various benefits. You should try to avoid napping for longer than this, though, and aim for a full night’s sleep instead.
5) Napping might be natural for us! Humans are one of the only mammals that are monophasic, meaning we only sleep for one period in a 24-hour cycle. Other mammals snooze several times throughout the day, and it could be that this is a more natural cycle for us to adopt as well!
6) Napping can lead to a healthier heart! One study found that people who took a 30-minute nap three times a week had a 37% lower risk of dying of heart disease than those who didn’t.
7) The Spanish are well-known for their siestas, which were introduced so that people could avoid working during the hottest time of the day. They would work into the evening instead. With the introduction of air conditioning and other technology, the siesta is now considered less vital, though it still exists in Spain, as do similar designated nap times all around the world.
8) You might be worried that napping will make it more difficult to sleep at night, but in fact a study found that napping lowers the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and increases the ability to stay asleep all night. It will only cause trouble if you nap too close to bedtime, so try to fit your nap in before 3pm.
9) Far from seeing it as sleeping on the job, some companies encourage napping. Google, Ben & Jerry’s and Nike are just a few of the businesses that have special napping rooms so that their employees can catch a few minutes of shut-eye.
10) Even if you don’t drift off when you try to nap, you may still be getting benefits just from lying down and resting. One study found that people who lay in bed without sleeping felt happier and more productive afterwards than they had before.