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Is Napping Good for You? Uncovering the Power of the Nap

Is Napping Good for You?

As simple and, often, short as it is, a nap holds plenty of power. Historically, many cultures have championed the idea of a siesta or short rest during the day. Whether it was the ancient Romans or modern-day Spaniards, a quick snooze has long been considered a secret weapon for rejuvenation. But how good is napping for you? Dive with us into the world of naps, as we explore the benefits, optimal timings, potential risks, and what experts have to say on the matter.

Benefits of Napping

Napping is defined as a short period of sleep, typically lasting for 20-30 minutes. While not lasting too long, it has been shown to have several benefits, categorized under physical health, mental health and cognitive benefits, and emotional and mood-related benefits.[1]

Physical health benefits

  • Boosted immune system: Regular short naps can reduce stress, which can lead to a stronger immune response. In addition, napping can help to increase the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infection.
  • Enhanced physical performance: A quick nap can refresh and reduce fatigue, increasing physical stamina. Studies have shown that napping can improve athletic performance, as well as the ability to perform physical tasks such as driving or working long hours.[2]
  • Improved cardiovascular health: Napping has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate. It can also help to improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.[3]
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Napping may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease. Studies have shown that people who nap regularly have a lower risk of developing these diseases.[5]

Mental health and cognitive benefits

  • Sharper memory: Napping has been shown to improve memory recall and enhance learning capabilities. This is because napping helps to consolidate memories and strengthen the connections between brain cells.
  • Increased alertness: Post-nap, individuals often report heightened attention and focus. This is because napping helps to reduce fatigue and improve cognitive function.
  • Enhanced creativity: Napping can help to boost creativity and problem-solving skills. This is because napping allows the brain to rest and recharge, which can lead to new ideas and insights.
  • Reduced risk of mental health problems: Napping may help to reduce the risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that people who take an afternoon nap regularly have a lower risk of developing these mental health problems.[1]

Emotional and mood-related benefits

  • Mood enhancer: Napping can act as a quick reset, lifting spirits and reducing feelings of irritability. This is because napping helps to reduce stress and improve mood.
  • Reduced stress: Even short naps can provide a mental break, reducing stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that napping can improve overall well-being and quality of life.[6]

Overall, napping is a safe and effective way to improve physical and mental health. It is important to note that napping should not be used as a substitute for a good night's sleep. 

However, a short nap during the day can be a great way to boost energy, improve performance, and reduce stress.

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Optimal Nap Duration & Timing

Nailing down the timing and duration of your nap can be a game-changer. While it might be tempting to dive deep into a 3-hour snooze session, understanding the sleep cycle can help maximize the benefits.

Ideal nap lengths:

  • 20-30 minutes: Ideal for a quick refresh. This nap duration prevents you from entering deep sleep, making it easier to wake up.
  • 60 minutes: This somewhat long nap can improve brain health, particularly improving the memory of facts, faces, and names but might also leave you feeling a bit groggy.
  • 90 minutes: A full sleep cycle, this nap includes light and deep sleep, resulting in enhanced creativity and emotional memory.

Best times of day to nap:

  • Early to mid-afternoon: Between 1 PM and 3 PM is often considered optimal. Napping too late in the afternoon can disrupt a person's nighttime sleep schedule.

Power Nap: A Deep Dive

Power nap, as the name suggests, is a short, powerful recharge session. But what constitutes it, and what are its advantages?

What's a Power Nap?

Typically lasting between 10-20 minutes, a power nap is designed to refresh and invigorate without causing grogginess.

Power nap advantages:

  • Quick Refresh: Increases alertness and energy almost immediately after waking up.
  • Cognitive Boost: Enhances decision-making, creativity, and learning.

Potential drawbacks:

  • Over-reliance on frequent naps can disrupt regular sleep patterns.
  • Not a replacement for adequate nightly sleep.

Risks and Precautions of Napping

While naps offer numerous benefits, it's also essential to consider potential pitfalls.

Potential risks:

  • Sleep Inertia: A much longer nap can lead to grogginess.
  • Night-time Sleep Disruption: Extended daytime napping or napping too late in the day can interfere with nighttime sleep.

Who should be cautious about napping?

  • Individuals with insomnia, sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders.
  • People who are prone to feeling groggy after waking.

Tips to nap safely:

  • Keep it short: Stick to power naps if you're looking for a brief recharge.
  • Pay attention to the sleep cycle and avoid waking up during deep sleep.
  • Find a conducive environment: A quiet, dark place can enhance nap quality.

So, is napping good for you? The answer seems to lean towards a resounding "yes," provided it's done right. From boosting physical and mental health to improving mood and reducing stress, the benefits are undeniable. However, like all good things, moderation and understanding are key.

And if you're on the lookout for a comfortable surface to indulge in that perfect nap, consider exploring the different mattresses and other sleep-related offerings at Mancini's Sleepworld. Remember, to sleep better is to live better, and the quality of your nap is only as good as where you take it!


1. For Adults: To Nap or Not to Nap? - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center 2023. id=4707&contenttypeid=

2. To Nap or Not to Nap? A Systematic Review Evaluating Napping Behavior in Athletes and the Impact on Various Measures of Athletic Performance By Michelle Lastella, Shona L Halson, Jacopo Antonino Vitale, Aamir Raoof Memon, Grace E Vincent | Nature and Science of Sleep | Dove Medical Press 2021 Volume 13 DOI: 10.2147/nss.s315556.

3. A Nap a Day Keeps High Blood Pressure at Bay - American College of Cardiology 2019.

4. The association between physical and mental chronic conditions and napping By Damien Léger, Martine Torrès, Virginie Bayon, Serge Herçberg, Pilar Galán, Mounir Chennaoui, Valentina A Andreeva | Scientific Reports | Nature Portfolio 2019 Volume: 9 Issue: 1 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-37355-3.

5. Is your daily nap doing more harm than good? - Harvard Health By Kelly Bilodeau | Harvard Health 2021.

6. Why You Should Nap More | WebMD 2022.