5 Myths About Afternoon Naps That Are Stopping You From Resting

I hear you. Napping is OK.

afternoon naps benefits

Afternoon naps help our bodies and mind in so many ways. 

Take for example the six-year study by scientists from the University of Athens Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.

They studied 23,681 Greek men and women. The researchers wanted to find a link between siestas and the risk of heart disease.

Their research revealed among other things that regular napping (at least three times a week) reduces the risk of heart-related death by 37 percent.  

But that’s not all.

Article continues below

Professor Leon Lack from Flinders University also found that 10 to 15 minutes of a power nap can be revolutionary in our day.

A power nap helps us to think more clearly, react faster, and become more alert.

With all these benefits, it is not surprising that Sir Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein have been famed to treasure their afternoon naps.

Article continues below

So why is it that besides all the numerous afternoon naps benefits, less than half of people are doing it often? When was the last time you had an afternoon nap yourself?

Part of the reason we fail to rejuvenate through afternoon naps is because of myths.

These myths are often spoken and unspoken at the same time.

In this article, we are going to debunk these afternoon nap myths so you can be more energized during the day.

Myth #1: Afternoon naps make it hard sleeping at night

This is the most widely known misconception about afternoon naps. It has been passed on from generation to generation.

And it is still being passed on as we speak. This is everything but true. 

Almost everything in life has rules and as the popular saying goes, there’s time for everything and that includes afternoon naps.

People believe that sleeping in the afternoon robs you of your goodnight’s sleep.

And for that reason, we desperately fight the urge off sleeping during the day when our body calls for it. Afternoon naps give the body almost the same benefits as a good night’s sleep.

They give the body time to rest and help it become more active. Depriving the body of such sleep hurts the body and it can lead to several illnesses.

Article continues below

The ideal duration for afternoon naps is just 20 minutes. And the best time to do this is between 2 pm and 3 pm

Sleep more than that and you’d be heading straight into dreamland, which will leave you feeling groggy and more tired when you wake up. 

That is not what you signed up for. In these restful 20 minutes, you wake up feeling even more refreshed, well-rested, and very active, and all the other afternoon nap benefits.

Myth #2: Afternoon naps are for lazy people and children under 5 years

Albert Einstein, Margaret Thatcher Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, and the list goes on and on and on. 

All these people have one thing in common. They were committed nappers! 

And they didn’t turn out to be the world’s laziest people. Instead, they turned out to be game-changers in their respective fields.

If you work continuously without giving the body the rest, the body begins to cannibalize itself.

Your body needs a break, even if that break is in the middle of the day. Does that make you lazy? No

It makes you human. You accept the fact that the body isn’t a machine and so it occasionally gets tired.

And an afternoon nap is just right for that since its benefits are increasing alertness, improving creativity and keeping you active.

Don’t forget the afternoon naps are good for everyone and that includes five-year-olds.

"The replenishing thing that comes with a nap — you end up with two mornings in a day" – Pete Hamill Click To Tweet

Myth #3: Taking coffee before afternoon nap is bad news

There is a long history dating back to coffee and its relationship with how to sleep well. We all know coffee contains caffeine which spikes up our energy levels and keeps us active and also from sleeping. 

So imagine being told to take coffee right before napping.

Article continues below

You cringed, didn’t you? A coffee nap is a thing and it takes the body on a whole new level when it comes to life after that kind of nap. 

Adenosine is a hormone that promotes sleep and caffeine is that compound that reduces the activity level of the adenosine. 

The thing is, coffee should be taken right before the naps and should last for between 20 to 30 minutes. 

This is advisable because it is believed caffeine action kicks in after that time. Limited research shows that taking coffee naps gives you an extra energy boost that naps or coffee alone. 

But note that this should be done six hours before actual bedtime else kiss our nighttime sleep goodbye.

Myth #4: Afternoon naps are not for everyone

I hear a lot of people going on about how they are not afternoon nappers because they cannot seem to sleep for twenty minutes in the afternoon.

They continue by complaining about how they know they need that nap but the sleep doesn’t happen. 

A tired body is an unproductive body and a lot follows that unproductivity. It is highly recommended to have afternoon naps especially if we know our bodies need them. 

You might be finding it difficult to sleep during the day but try this – sleep at the same time every afternoon every other day. 

Article continues below

Your body will get accustomed to this and soon you’ll be sleeping in the afternoons and getting the afternoon nap benefits you have been chasing for so long.

You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping. You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance – Dr. Sara Mednick Click To Tweet

Myth #5: Afternoon naps is another name for deep sleep

“I won’t wake up if I take an afternoon nap.” Says who? Sleep is the most amazing gift to mankind.

The peace, rest, and rejuvenation it brings make it difficult to wake up naturally especially in the afternoons. 

It is good you have decided to take that bold step into improved attention and creativity through afternoon naps. 

But you have to wake up after 30 minutes. If you cannot seem to wake up naturally, use an alarm clock. It is that simple!

Takeaway

These naps in its sense are good and nothing should stop you from enjoying those afternoon nap benefits, not even these misconceptions. Go on. Grab your pillow and go for that power nap.