Somedays you just feel a little nap could serve you well. A long night, less than usual sleep, a hard day, or just needing a little down time…..whatever the reason is, a nap typically feels restorative and rejuvenating to face the remainder of the day. Some people can take naps very easily, allowing themselves to shut their eyes and distractions out for a short period of time. Others struggle to just stop the day momentarily and pause their mind and body to allow themselves to take a nap. Sometimes you can be so exhausted that the nap just happens and you dozed off unintentionally.
There are actually different types of naps we take because they can serve a different purpose for you.
1. Recovery nap: This is a nap which functions to make up for sleep loss.
2. Appetitive nap: You might just enjoy taking a nap and it can serve a pleasurable purpose for you.
3. Prophylactic nap: This type of nap is common among nurses or people who work night shifts, as they prepare for the lack of sleep or different sleep period that will take place as a result.
4. Essential nap: The common cold often requires the body to use a little extra rest to recover. The immune system needs the nap to keep fighting for you.
5. Fulfillment nap: These types of naps are those that children take because their bodies actually require more sleep for growth and development.
The duration of a nap can very because your body might nap until it is ready, or you might only have an allotted period of time to nap. Typically, a nap can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, which have also coined the term “power naps”. Children are the most common longer nap takers because their body will have them sleep as long as it needs to.
Napping has many benefits with the most obvious being making you feel less tired and sleepy. Feeling more awake in turn helps you to be more alert and better perform tasks. Memory can also be heightened. Operating on a drowsy mind is not safe or even enjoyable. This is especially true when driving.
However, napping can have negative side effects such as making it harder for you to go to sleep when it is your regular bedtime. Napping later in the day can especially cause this. You have to really let your mind relax and not worry about what is going on during the day and sometimes setting an alarm can help you fall asleep because you know you won’t oversleep or miss out on what lies ahead.
It’s hard to believe as adults that we might have hated taking naps when we were younger. Now, we would love to have the ability to do so to break apart our day. Naps are nice and don’t always get to happen, and sometimes we are so caught up in the fast-paced lives we live that it takes removing ourselves from our environment (going on vacation) to actually allow a solid nap to take place. We need our sleep and naps communicate this to our bodies and minds.