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Naps: Are They Helpful or Harmful?

Tara Youngblood


The Benefits of Naps

When was the last time you took a nap and woke up feeling refreshed? 

Table of Contents:

In this article, we'll discuss the following:

Naps are brief periods of sleep taken during one’s normal wake hours. Some naps have different purposes, such as to catch up on sleep, to prepare for a lack of sleep, and even for enjoyment. 

So are naps good for you? Keep reading to learn about who needs naps, how long you should nap, the benefits of napping, and if there are drawbacks to taking a nap.

Nap vs. Sleep?

Naps are different from sleep because they don’t go into the deeper stages of sleeping, such as the REM cycle. Since napping is for shorter periods of time, you’re going to get the benefits of resting, but hopefully without the disorientation of deep sleep.

Resource: The Myths About Your Sleep Cycles

Who Commonly Takes Naps?

If you couldn't remember the last time you had a satisfying nap, you might wonder who even has the time to nap? Aside from small children, regular napping is actually pretty common for adults too. 

Did You Know? Chronotype can play a significant role in who is more driven to take naps. It’s important to understanding and identifying your chronotype and sleep cycle. Your chronotype is the inherent timeline you should follow for sleeping.

Take Our Chronotype Quiz

Need Help? Simply take our short Chronotype quiz to help you find your sleep chronotype.

Babies and Children

Babies, toddlers, and kids are frequent nappers. This is because sleep plays a significant role in a child’s physical, mental, and emotional development, so they need more naps as well as more sleep during the night.

What Age Do Kids Stop Napping?

While regular naps are important for a child’s development, eventually they’ll grow out of them and get a sufficient amount of rest at night. So it’s important to note that the younger the child, the more sleep that they’ll need.

Infants typically spend most of the day sleeping, while toddlers will only take one nap a day. Once a child reaches seven years old, they shouldn’t need regular naps anymore.

That’s not to say older children and teenagers don’t need occasional naps, but a daily nap doesn’t need to be incorporated into their schedule.

Napping for Adults 

While adults don’t need to nap as often as children, about one-third of adults will nap regularly. If you’re part of that statistic, it may not come as much of a surprise to you, but many adults can’t find the time to nap often, or they just don’t enjoy it.

How Long Should You Nap?

If you’ve found some free time and you want to take a nap, you should set an alarm to make sure you’re not sleeping for too long. So you’re probably wondering, “How long should I nap then?”

Longer naps often come with certain drawbacks, such as sleep inertia and nighttime insomnia, which we’ll go over later. So keep that in mind when you’re setting an alarm. If you’re napping because of long working shifts, needing to catch up on sleep, or if sleep-deprived or possibly fighting an illness, the amount of time dedicated towards napping can play a role. If fighting an illness, it may be best to let your body rest as long as it needs.

What Is a Power Nap?

When we talk about naps that end before you reach deep sleep, we’re talking about a power nap. Power naps are quick, usually between 10 to 20 minutes, and can improve a person’s productivity for the rest of the day. If they are longer than 30 minutes, it’s likely to leave you feeling tired or sluggish.

What Are the Benefits of Napping?

Aside from catching up on sleep, why do some people continue to nap regularly? Taking a short nap every day actually has a lot of benefits for your physical and mental health. We’ve made a list of these benefits below.

Fun Fact:  Thomas Edison would nap scattered throughout this property, from his library, labs, workbench, even under his desk, and in unusual places such as under a tree for up to 1-hour, sometimes 3-times a day.

Improves Your Memory

Your brain and body function best with sleep, so it only makes sense that your brain will store memories better if you’re well-rested. People who take power naps in the middle of the day are more likely to remember important things from earlier that day.

Resource: Studies Show Deep Sleep May Prevent Dementia

Better Focus and Learning

It can be hard to focus or learn when you’re tired and burnt out from the day. Taking a power nap in the middle of the day can get rid of that sleepiness and improve your focus so you can excel in work, school, or whatever you’re doing.

Improves Mood

Naps are a great way to boost your mood. Also, people who are well-rested will be able to regulate their emotions better.

Reduces Stress

Taking the time out of your day to rest is important for reducing stress. Napping is the perfect way to relax and lower your heart rate for a bit. Plus when you wake up, you’ll have a clearer mind for your work.

What Are the Drawbacks of Napping?

While there are numerous health benefits of naps, there are also some disadvantages. These obstacles are usually avoidable if you take our advice below.

Sleep Inertia

The chances are that at some point in your life, you’ve woken up from a long nap and you’ve felt groggy and disoriented. This is called sleep inertia.

Sleep inertia is something that often happens when someone naps for longer than 20 minutes and falls into a deeper sleep. 

If you want to take a nap but you don’t want to feel groggy afterward, consider taking a power nap. By setting an alarm to wake you up after 20 minutes or less, you’ll feel well-rested and ready to focus. 

Trouble Sleeping at Night

Some people find that napping during the day causes insomnia at night, a common sleep disorder. This can be from napping too late in the day or napping for too long. If you find yourself having this issue, avoid taking naps late in the afternoon or naps that last longer than 20 minutes.

When Should Adults Consider a Nap?

If you’re going to take a nap, you want to plan it just right to get the most benefits. This includes a restful location and the timing of your nap.

Napping may be difficult if you’re not in a comfortable environment such as your home. People tend to get better sleep when they’re in a dark and quiet environment that’s a few degrees cooler than room temperature. 

Try to keep your nap early enough in the day that you’ll be able to sleep that night, but late enough that you’ll actually benefit from it. Many people feel that the early afternoon, from 2 pm to 3 pm is the perfect time for a daytime nap to get a few minutes of rest.

Having the Best Napping Experience

Now that you know about the benefits of napping, you should take some extra time each day to power nap without feeling guilty. The benefits certainly outweigh the disadvantages, especially when it comes to your overall health. 

Whether you're napping or sleeping, you deserve to be comfortable and wake up feeling well-rested. That's why we offer some of the best bed cooling options to keep you comfortable when it counts the most. Select from the OOLER, a cooling mattress pad, Cube, a cooling mattress topper and our cooling weighted blanket, the chiliBLANKET.

Take a look at our cooling products to see which one would give you the best napping experience.

About Tara Youngblood

Tara Youngblood is ChiliSleep’s co-founder and CEO. An accomplished scientist, author, and speaker, Tara’s unique ideas are revolutionizing the future of sleep health by making sleep easy, approachable, and drug-free.
Learn more about Tara.