Back in my teens and 20s, I hated taking naps. And I also really do not remember taking or enjoying naps as a child.
I figured that if I was tired, I would just attempt to go to bed early, have some caffeine as I got older, or push through until the feeling passed.
Now in my late 30s, I’m learning to enjoy a good 20-minute nap.
This summer, after a few busy weeks filled with working in the garden, driving my son to soccer practices and games, fighting off a head cold, and of course working, I have found myself needing to take a few moments of rest more often.
On Sunday afternoon, I realized it was time to slow myself down, not just for my physical well-being, but for my mental well-being. And I did. I’m trying to listen to my body more, which I believe is part of getting older and likely more mature.
But, as I was laying down, slowing my body and my brain, I started thinking about all the benefits of taking a nap. It’s common practice in many cultures, so there must be a reason for it.
So, once I sat down at the computer later, I had to search for some answers. I quickly found that many studies show that nap time can (of course) reduce daytime sleepiness, but it also boosts learning and performance.
Napping for less than 20 minutes is generally recommended, which I agree with. Once I unlocked this secret, nap time became more enjoyable.
I also found that studies show drinking a bit of caffeine before a nap can help a person feel less groggy, so I’m good to keep drinking a cup or two of coffee a day.
And if you don’t have time to take a nap but you’re still feeling sleepy – try getting some extra sun instead. In Canada, that isn’t always an option, so I anticipate a few extra naps in my days as we get closer to those winter months.