Written and Media by Paige Lunde.
Is napping healthy? Is it important to take a nap at least every other day? To college students, napping is very important. Like kids, our lives revolve around when we can nap and eat next. So the big question is: is napping healthy for us?
A study shows that at least 85 percent of the world takes naps on a daily basis, including all types of mammals. Luckily for us, humans are in that percentage. Sure, most of them are babies, toddlers, and the elderly, but we’re still in the percentage nonetheless. Naps do not cover the quality of nighttime sleeping, however, but they have proven to improve people’s moods, alertness, and performance. That is if the nap is at least twenty to thirty minutes long, as naps for this time limit help with your short term alertness. Any longer and you would feel groggy and tired for the rest of the day and it would interfere with your sleep later that night.
There are three types of naps, according to some studies. First, you have the planned nap where you plan to nap before you actually get sleepy. Usually, people use this type of nap when they know for sure that they are going to be up later than normal and use it to fight off tiredness. The second type of napping is emergency napping. Emergency napping happens when you get hit all of a sudden with tiredness and you know one hundred percent that you can not stay awake any longer to continue what you were doing. The third type of napping is habitual napping which is when a person takes a nap every day at the same time, they get into a schedule of napping. This type usually happens with young children or the elderly.
But is napping really healthy for you? They are, in increments. Naps can restore alertness, reduce the amount of mistakes or accidents you may make on a daily basis, and they can enhance your performance. Your performance and alertness can be elevated at least 60 percent if you take a nap for forty minutes. Your body and mind’s alertness can be improved up to a couple of hours after you take a nap. Napping also has psychological benefits as well. A nap can be a way of trying to feel rejuvenated or refreshed after.
While those are all the positive effects, there are unfortunately negative effects to napping as well. You can end up with sleep inertia, which is the feeling of grogginess or disorientation after waking up. Napping can have a negative impact on your sleeping pattern. One study even showed that napping can put people who are already at risk to heart failure at an even bigger risk. Napping has been given nasty stigmas as well, like laziness, lack of ambition, and the fact that people believe napping is only for children and the elderly.
So, in short, napping can be healthy as long as it only lasts twenty to thirty minutes (forty at the most to improve alertness). If you feel so tired you know you can’t continue on, go lay down and take a nap, no one will judge. We’re all college students running on three hours of sleep at night, we all take naps every now and then. It can help, it really can.
P.S. For those who may like them, here’s a link to some comic strips.