Midday Napping: Yea or Nay?

Is napping really that good for you, and if so, just how much? We investigate the benefits of napping and the impact it has on our bodies.

Imagine the situation; You’re on holiday in sunny Spain, walking along a shopping promenade in the mid-afternoon. But wait, the shops are all closed! Sound familiar? 

Many Europeans believe the benefits of napping are so great, they close shutters on businesses in the afternoon, popping home for a quick recharge. 

Unfortunately, in the United Kingdom, midday naps are not a normal daily activity, with many seeing naps as lazy. In fact, almost half of us are only getting six hours or less of sleep a night!

Should we all start napping throughout the day? After all, most mammals are polyphasic sleepers, meaning they sleep in short bursts throughout the day. 

What are the benefits to a midday nap? 

They can keep you focused. Many powerful figures in history are strong advocates for midday naps, including Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein.

Companies like Nike and Deloitte Consulting even advise their employees to take a midday snooze. This all comes down to the belief that a quick nap increases focus and productivity. 

Not only this, but a short nap can alleviate tension and stress, and even boost your mood. Researchers in the US have found that toddlers who are denied regular afternoon naps grow up into grumpier and moodier adults. 

How long should I nap for? 

Experts believe that to have a refreshing nap, you must sleep for no more than 20 minutes, any longer and you hit the deeper stages of sleep and will awake feeling groggy. 

It is recommended that you stick to a regular napping schedule, the optimal hours are between 1:00pm and 3:00pm; after lunch, when your blood sugar and energy starts to dip.

Are you getting enough sleep? Try out BBC’s test below and see. Read our tips on a better night’s sleep here


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Posted on Friday Aug 11