Health Benefits of Napping For Adults

Ever joked with a colleague that you’d love a built-in nap-time in the middle of the workday? You’re not alone. Many U.S. adults – actually about one-third  – sleep less than the recommended 7 hours/night. Yet, for some reason, adult napping remains a sign of laziness in this country. 

In reality, napping offers some spectacular health benefits for adults who can incorporate one into their daily routine – at least when done properly.

The Power of Napping

While more research needs to be done concerning the benefits and drawbacks of napping for adults, current research suggests five key advantages:

1. Increased Alertness & Focus

When you’re sleep-deprived, you simply can’t concentrate as well on the tasks at hand. A short 20-minute nap can give you the energy boost you need to be more effective.

2. Enhanced Brain Function

Sleep directly impacts your ability to learn, react, memorize information, reason logically, and perform countless other cognitive functions that help us navigate our daily lives.

3. Stress Reduction

Napping has been linked to better management of key stress hormones, which results in an improved mood and overall emotional well-being.

4. Optimal Heart Health

According to The Obesity Society, a regular nap of 30 minutes or less reduces your chances of high blood pressure by 21%.

5. Improved Physical Fitness

Naps boost endurance, reaction time, and other cognitive abilities required for athletic performance, but it can also improve recovery after a workout or unexpected injury.


How to Make the Most of an Afternoon Nap

Most sleep scientists agree that short power naps are generally more effective than longer naps in which the napper enters into REM sleep.

Make sure you’re not going down for a nap too late in the afternoon. Any sleep after 3 p.m. can throw off your regular nighttime sleep routine and create all sorts of other sleep-related issues. 

To make the most of your power nap, choose a dark, quiet, distraction-free space and set a timer for 10-20 minutes.


The Bottom Line

Although a midday nap may not be possible for everyone, it can be useful for those who have the time and flexibility – and may be essential for those who can’t get enough nighttime sleep. 

If you think a daily power nap may be a good option for you, talk to your healthcare provider about experimenting with a regular napping routine.


HME Locations | Sleep Disorder Resources

Struggling with nighttime sleep? You may be suffering from a sleep disorder. First, meet with a doctor to discuss your concerns. Then, if your doctor prescribes a sleep study, find a sleep center in your area using our sleep center search tool. 

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