We all take a nap now and then. Small children and the elderly often do it to have enough energy for the rest of the day. Teens and adults sometimes do it to recover from a long day, or to save energy for when they have to work late into the evening. It is very human to want to sleep in between, and certainly not bad. However, taking a nap is sometimes discouraged.
In this article, we look at what a nap is and what it does to your body.
What is a nap?
1. Recovery Nap
You do this when you have done a lot of strenuous activities the night or day before, which results in a lack of sleep. During a restorative sleep period, you make up for the missed sleep time.
2. Preparatory Sleep
Many people do this when they have to work the night shift or when they have a long day ahead of them. You are already preparing for a night with little or no sleep so that you have just a little more energy to get through the evening.
3. Fulfilling Nap
Especially babies and small children use this because they need more sleep than adults. Children grow and therefore need to sleep more so that their bodies can develop properly.
4. Needed Sleep
Necessary naps happen when you're sick. Your body then needs extra time to recover, making you feel more tired and sleep more.
5. Entertaining Naps
This is for people who like to relax in the afternoon, but where it is not essential. Often an entertaining nap makes them feel cheerful and happy afterward.
Taking a nap doesn't take as long as a full night of sleep, but the length of your nap also affects what happens in your body. A rest moment of only 5 minutes has little effect on your body because it does not enter the sleep phase. The most effective naps last between 10 and 20 minutes except for sick people and children, who simply need more sleep.
What do naps do to your body?
However, napping for too long is not good for your body because it can lead to more fatigue or even depressive symptoms. This is because long naps often indicate poor sleep caused by one or more other factors. If you happen to have a bad night's sleep, this is of course not a sign of depression, but just a bad day.
In children, an afternoon nap develops their brains, emotional skills and even promotes language learning. This moment of rest also ensures that their bodies can grow and recover.
If you can't manage to nap or if your work doesn't allow it, that's no problem. You don't need naps to function properly or to have a healthy body. Think of it more as a perk for your body, not something you have to do.