National Napping Day

March 15, 2021

National Napping Day

After daylight savings if you feel like you're jet-lagged, there's an ideal day to recuperate from "springing forward." It's National Napping Day, and is on March 15.

Napping is much better to provide you with energy than energy drinks, or coffee. So, you can now feel less guilty about enjoying a nap. And, even if you lost an extra hour in the daytime because of daylight savings, you can now catch up with your sleep on the day meant to celebrate napping.

Origins of National Napping Day

Who invented National Napping Day, and how can we thank him or her? Created in 1999, National Napping Day was created by William Anthony Ph.D., a Boston University professor, and Camille Anthony, his wife. National Napping Day was created to spread awareness on how important obtaining proper sleep is as well as its benefits. It's a “holiday” meant for helping to make up that hour of sleep you lose with the time change.

This date was selected because certain studies show individuals are already sleep deprived and very tired after the daylight savings change.  This hour change really makes a difference, but you can make it seem as if there wasn't any change at all by taking advantage of National Napping Day.

Benefits of Napping

Some benefits of napping are:

  1. Napping is Healthy for You

There are various health benefits to taking a nap that might make you consider not skipping that nap. These benefits include:

  • Brain performance
  • Increased awareness
  • Reduced stress

Napping also helps keep your heart healthy. Individuals who nap decrease their heart disease risk as well as their risk of heart-related death.

  1. Napping Enhances Your Mood

When your tired, you're more prone to things like:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsivity

However, by taking a short nap, you can wake up feeling refreshed and brand new. Studies show a short nap in the afternoon can help improve your sex life, and make you more happy.

  1. Napping Gives You a Reason to Relax

Many people are sleep deprived. You can become caught up in your daily life, crazy schedule, and busy days, and this can make you feel tired. To energize yourself, it really only takes a quick 20 to 30 minute nap. National Napping Day is the ideal day to do just that.

Drawbacks of Napping

Napping isn't for all people. Some individuals simply have issues sleeping in locations other than their own bed, or sleeping during the day (which naps require usually).

There are a couple drawbacks to napping, like:

  1. Napping Can Lead to Nighttime Sleep Issues

A short nap typically won't impact most people's nighttime sleep quality, but if you're experiencing poor sleep quality or insomnia during the night, napping may make these problems worse. Frequent or long naps may interfere with nighttime sleep.

  1. Napping Can Give You Temporary Sleep Inertia

You may feel disoriented and groggy after you wake up from a nap, this is almost always temporary.

Types of Naps

Naps are categorized based on what function they're serving. Making a nap work for you requires you to think about what you're looking to get out of it.

Different types of naps and their functions are:

  1. Prophylactic Nap: This type of nap you take to prepare for sleep loss. For instance, if you're a night shift worker, you might schedule a nap before and during your shifts to help you stay alert, and prevent sleepiness while you're working.
  2. Recovery Nap: If you're sleep deprived, it can leave you feeling very tired the next day. If your sleep is interrupted, or you're up late, you may take a recovery nap the following day to help compensate for your sleep loss.
  3. Fulfillment Nap: Kids have a greater requirement for sleep than adults. A fulfillment nap is frequently scheduled into the days of toddlers and infants, and could spontaneously occur in kids of all ages.
  4. Appetitive Nap: These you take because you enjoy napping. Napping can help improve your energy and mood, and can be relaxing.
  5. Caffeine Nap: Caffeine naps are short periods of sleep you take during the day right after you consume caffeine. You should keep the nap to around 15 to 20 minutes tops, and you may want to set an alarm so you don't oversleep.

Children and Napping

Children can obtain sufficient sleep by taking naps. Sleep is essential for children's intellectual, physical, and emotional development. Researchers have been studying naps in kids from infancy to adolescence. Here are some statistics on children and napping:

  • Infants (Up to a year old): It's common for newborns to spend most of their time asleep. They could take one to four naps each day, lasting around 30 minutes to a couple hours.
  • Toddlers (One to two years old): Napping starts decreasing after the child turns one year old, but naps are still essential for this age, and offer benefits. Toddlers who take naps have an increased ability of self-regulating their emotions and behavior than those who don't, according to a study.
  • Children (three to five years old): Toddlers at this age require 10 to 13 hours of sleep each day. Some will obtain a sufficient number of hours of sleep during the night while others will still require a nap in the daytime.
  • Children (six to 12 years old): Once the child turns five, they might stop napping, but different children's nap preferences and sleep needs will vary greatly.
  • Teenagers (13 to 17 years old): Various challenges exist that disrupt a teens ability of getting proper sleep in the nighttime. Recovery naps could help teenagers maintain their cognitive performance. But, research also shows teenagers that nap during the day sleep less at night. Therefore, naps during the day can be ineffective in teenagers already struggling with sleep problems.

Adults and Napping

Most of the positive impact seen in kids who take naps are also found in younger adults. Early adulthood napping could:

  • Improve cognitive performance
  • Alleviate sleepiness
  • Provide emotion regulation

But, a midday nap isn't for all people. Obligations like employment could make it impossible to nap. Also, some individuals simply can't fall asleep away from their bed or during the day.

Do's and Don'ts of Napping

There are do's and don'ts to napping. Here you'll learn a few of each.

Napping Do's

  • Do keep naps brief. You should only aim to nap for no more than 20 minutes. You'll end up feeling groggy afterward if your nap is longer.
  • Do take early afternoon naps. Napping after 3PM could disrupt nighttime sleep. Your sleep schedule, your need for sleep, your medication use, your age, and other individual factors could play a role in deciding when the best time of day would be for napping.
  • Do create a relaxing environment. Nap in a dark, quiet place with few distractions, a comfortable room temperature, and a supportive bed.

Napping Dont's

  • Don't make your naps too long. Your naps aren't supposed to replace a great night's sleep, but instead should offer you a middle of the day burst of energy.
  • Don't force your naps. If you're not tired, don't try and force a nap, even if you've been napping for years now.
  • Don't nap too late. It's not a good idea to take a nap within three hours before you go to bed; this could have a negative impact on your overnight sleep.

After you take a nap, before you resume your activities, give yourself enough time to wake up, especially if you're the type of person who requires a sharp or quick response.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 13 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.