The Biggest Benefits of Napping for AdultsThe Biggest Benefits of Napping for Adults

By Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal

When you’re a toddler, napping is everything. It’s the key to a good mood, it improves the odds of sleeping through the night, AND it gives a boost of energy. How often have you heard a frazzled parent that’s desperate for their child to take a nap so they can be alert and ready for a playdate or family event? So, why do naps get a bad rap when it comes to adults adding them to their weekly routines? The perception is adult napping makes you look lazy, or it cuts into a time where you should be productive with work or other chores. The mindset that napping is a “lazy” habit needs to change as here’s something you may not know—kids are onto something—naps ARE of the utmost importance for adults. They are good for your energy, your focus, your stress levels, and most of all, your health. Especially your heart and cardiovascular health.

Rather than view them as a lazy indulgence, in moderation, the long-term benefits of an afternoon nap are incredible for adults. Just taking one to two daytime naps a week can lower your risk of heart problems, including heart disease and strokes, than non-nappers. So, napping can make up for any lost nighttime sleep while aiding in reducing stress (another foe of heart health). Using naps to attain enough sleep can also aid in preventing obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and mental distress because inadequate sleep exacerbates all of those conditions.

Regular, short naps help lower tension, anxiety, and stress—which decreases the risk of heart disease. It’s helpful to try and stick to a regular napping schedule during optimal hours (between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm—after lunchtime when your energy dips). Naps boost alertness and improve motor performance, which is why you feel energized after taking one. So, how long is the ideal nap? Most experts recommend a 20-minute snooze as that’s enough to reap the most noticeable benefits, including better alertness, performance, and mood. Studies show that 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon provides more rest than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning. And that makes sense as most people’s bodies naturally become more tired in the afternoon–about 8 hours after we wake up—making a quick nap an opportunity to seize if you can. One last tip—try and nap in a quiet, very dark space, so you fall asleep faster and start maximizing all the great benefits!

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