Sleep Awareness: Napping

To some degree, the ability to nap may be decided by the social acceptability of the activity or it may have more to do with practicality. In some countries, adults face long workdays that do not allow for nap time; however, in other countries, workers enjoy time off in the middle of the day during which a nap is considered normal. In nearly every culture, both children and the elderly are given the most latitude where napping is concerned, mainly because they get tired more frequently than the average adult. Although some cultures seem to allow for daily napping at any age, others frown upon such activity between the onset of adulthood and the age of retirement. In some cases, where co-sleeping or communal sleeping is common, napping may be more acceptable for all ages.

Naps Are Not Just for Small Children and the Elderly

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Dr. Lawrence Kline, a specialist in internal, pulmonary, and sleep disorders medicine, has focused his practice on sleep apnea and breathing as the Director of the Viterbi Family Sleep Center at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, California. He has found that napping during the day from 12:00 to 2:00 P.M. for 40 minutes can be beneficial. To see more of Dr. Kline’s recommendations for getting a great night’s sleep™, take a look at our interview with Dr. Kline. Meanwhile, we thought you might find it interesting to consider the benefits of napping and the way it is viewed by other cultures.

The National Sleep Foundation, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/napping, identifies a number of benefits to napping, including the restoration of alertness, enhancement of performance, reduction in mistakes and accidents. “A recent study in the research journal Sleep examined the benefits of naps of various lengths and no naps. The results showed that a 10-minute nap produced the most benefit in terms of reduced sleepiness and improved cognitive performance. A nap lasting 30 minutes or longer is more likely to be accompanied by sleep inertia, which is the period of grogginess that sometimes follows sleep.” https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/napping

Nap needs may change according to the need and between individuals. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., has identified a number of different naps to meet different needs, ranging from “The CEO Nap,” a short power nap in the mid-afternoon, to “The Nap-A-Latte” when you need a quick boost.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201806/9-different-types-naps-and-their-advantages Regardless of the type of nap you take, it is important that you find the right environment for your nap.

Setting the Stage for a Beneficial Nap

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Even if napping is culturally commonplace, lighting conditions can affect one's ability to rest. In some regions, winter conditions make napping easy since the days are short and light is sparse. Climates that are sunny year-round may make it more difficult to nap without blackout shades or a sleep mask. Of course, warm afternoons can make people drowsy, but so can a home interior that is heated to combat the chill of winter. Additionally, people in offices rarely nap because desks make for uncomfortable sleeping surfaces. However, Down Etc.’s Head Heaven® Travel Pillow or Pillowtogo Travel Pillow and Throw plus Down Etc.’s Eye Mask can turn almost any spot into a great place to rest. When conditions are right, pretty much anyone can fit in forty winks outside of the standard, nightly sleep cycle.