When In Doubt, Nap It Out: Why Napping Is A Beneficial Daily Habit

by Nicole Romano

I am what some would consider a "professional napper." If napping could be a major, I could have graduated three years ago.

Like most people, I used to believe napping was unproductive and a sign of laziness.

But really, napping is an art form that promotes productivity.

Napping is a difficult task to master that requires much dedication, but the benefits are more than worth it.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, “Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance and reduce mistakes and accidents.”

Naps can also have health benefits, like preventing heart disease. A study by Dimitrios Trichopoulos showed people who nap at least three times a week are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease compared to the people who don't regularly nap.

Napping helps reduce stress, which is linked to health issues. So, why not start napping?

Dr. Sara C. Mednick, author of "Take a Nap! Change Your Life," explained napping is a great way to relax your mind and allow for new creativity to enter. She also mentioned napping can restore the sensitivity of hearing, taste and light.

There are different types of naps one can participate in. The first type is a planned nap, which is a nap you plan to take in different circumstances.

Some types may include planning on napping when you get off of work or planning to nap before you go out.

The second type of nap is an emergency nap. The emergency nap happens more than you think, and can happen at any time.

These naps occur when you cannot function because of drowsiness. You must nap in order to finish out the rest of the day or complete whatever task you are working on.

The last type is a habitual nap. This type of nap happens every day around the same time, which makes it a routine.

Routine naps train your body to be revitalized and focused for the second half of your day, making you more productive.

The best type of naps are said to be 20 to 30 minute “power naps.” These short nap breaks can help “improve alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.”

There are some things you should avoid if you decide to take naps: Do not take naps after 4 pm unless you are planning on staying out late.

Later naps can interfere with your nightly sleep schedule and make you groggy and distracted the next day from lack of sleep.

Like I mentioned above, try to stay away from the 2 to 3-hour knockout naps. I know it's hard, especially if you have the time to do so, but this can also really affect your nightly sleep.

If you are the type of person who feels guilty while taking a nap, just know successful people, including Thomas Edison, George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill, all benefitted from taking daily afternoon naps.

I plan my entire day around what time I will be able to take my nap.

I constantly lie to my friends when they ask me to lunch or to go work out by saying I'm busy, when I really just need to fit my nap in.

Naps are my only way to function throughout the day and napping has been proven to be one of the best daily routines you can do for your overall health and sanity. So, when in doubt, just nap it out.