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Are your naps helpful or harmful? These tips should help

Stock image. Anna Nekrashevich
Stock image. Anna Nekrashevich (Pexels)

Of all the special days we get each year, there probably isn’t a more appropriately timed one than National Napping Day, which is Monday.

It’s perfectly timed because due to daylight saving time on Sunday that sprang clocks forward, people lost an hour of sleep.

Studies have shown losing that extra hour of sleep can lead to an increased risk of heart attacks and car accidents, so that day more than ever will be a reason for people to take a nap and make up for the lost hour.

But are there health effects when it comes to napping? Is there a proper way to take them?

Here’s a quick guide to napping, from the Mayo Clinic.

Benefits of napping

Some of the perks of taking naps include:

  • Relaxation
  • Increased alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Improved reaction time and memory

Drawbacks of napping

Two main drawbacks of naps are sleep intertia, which can make someone feel disoriented after waking up from one, and the cause of nighttime sleep problems. For those who experience insomnia or poor quality of sleep at night, napping might further heighten those issues.

Tips for taking naps

To best optimize naps, it’s best to do the following:

  • Take short naps. Napping 10 to 20 minutes makes it less likely you’ll feel groggy. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a 20-minute nap to feel refreshed.
  • Be sure to nap early in the afternoon. It’s best to nap before 3 p.m. so that nighttime sleep isn’t disrupted too much.
  • Create a proper napping environment. Napping in a quiet, dark place with few distractions and a comfortable room temperature is important to getting refreshed.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.