It’s no coincidence that National Napping Day occurs right after the return of daylight saving time in the United States. We know, your circadian rhythm is all out of whack and it feels like the only way to remedy the situation is to go to sleep. But before you drift off, here are some fun facts about the best part of the day — nap time — that you probably didn’t know.
1. There are three distinct types of nappers
There’s the habitual napper who takes a nap at the same time every single day. There’s the planned napper who plans to snooze before she actually gets tired. And then there’s the emergency napper who waits until she’s so tired that she has to stop what she’s doing ASAP and snooze. (Which one are you?)
2. Naps are a great de-stressing tool
Yep, if you’re feeling especially wrung out, ditching your stressor and taking a snooze instead can give your brain a brief vacation from what’s bothering you and calm your central nervous system. Then, when you come back to it, you’re more collected to solve the problem more effectively.
3. The “coffee nap” is one of the most effective ways to rebound your energy levels.
Simply drink a cup of coffee and then sprawl out on the couch for your power nap. Twenty minutes later when you wake up, you’ll feel more refreshed and alert than ever. The boost you feel from caffeine doesn’t typically kick in at full force until about 30 minutes after you’ve consumed it, and napping during that period of time helps your body process its existing feelings of drowsiness while you wait for the caffeine to take effect. Win-win.
4. You don’t have to fall asleep to reap the benefits of a nap
Even if you spend 20 minutes just lying down with your eyes closed, you can safely and effectively lower your blood pressure, relieving additional stress that your body is experiencing. So if you can’t drift off, don’t sweat it. Just pretend that you’re lying on a beach somewhere and soak it all in.
5. Humans nap differently than other mammals
The vast majority of other mammals in the animal kingdom sleep for short periods of time throughout the day whenever their bodies tell them they need to rest. We, on the other hand, designate a large chunk of time for sleep and a large chunk of time for wakefulness, intentionally delaying rest even when we feel tired.
6. Your body has an ideal nap time
According to researchers at the University of California-Berkeley, the best time to take a nap is right in the middle of your wake cycle. So, if you can, aim to nap eight hours after waking up in the morning and eight hours before going to bed at night.
7. There’s such a thing as a napping competition
It’s called the National Siesta Championship, and it’s held in Madrid. In the past, the winner even got to take home a cash prize. Um, where do we sign up?!