When napping is conducted strategically and mindfully, it can be a game-changer for productivity and performance in healthy individuals. When utilized without awareness and discipline, excessive napping could easily sabotage your sleep goals.
So what are we to do?
To nap or not to nap? That is the question!
A University of Massachusetts study calls it the “Nap Paradox” in their piece, Exploring the nap paradox: are mid-day sleep bouts a friend or foe?
. The findings? Basically, in healthy, young populations, a mid-day nap can be beneficial. Unfortunately, for older people or so-called “chronic nappers,” we might think twice before offering up napping as a winning strategy.
Harvard Business Review’s article, You Need More Sleep. What Should You Do If You Can't Get It?
, sheds light on the positive and negative effects of having a workplace that encourages napping:
Take the example of nap rooms or nap pods that can enable team members to take breaks in order to sleep and recharge while others are working. This infrastructure has a secondary benefit of signaling the value of sleep. However, the risk of nap-focused infrastructure is that it could potentially enable a culture in which long work hours punctuated by short naps becomes seen as normal. Thus, it’s vital to send the right message, both verbally and through action, to ensure that nap infrastructure becomes a tool for rest rather than a tool for increasing work pressure.
Herein lies the napping paradox.
I’m in the cautiously pro-napping group. Meaning that if you’re in a place in your life, mental health, and sleep management that you can trust yourself to get up when your alarm goes off after 20 minutes or so, and you can keep it regulated to earlier in the day...go for it! However, if you’re like I was in the height of my insomnia, riddled with anxiety, naps could turn out to be a black hole, further perpetuated bad habits and a disrupted circadian rhythm.
If you’re in #TeamNap, here is a quickie guide from the NY Times on how to do it. If you want to learn more, check out the resources below!
Resource: Article, NY Times, How to Nap
Aim to sleep for 20 minutes. Anything longer, and you risk drifting into what scientists call slow-wave sleep, a state of languid brain-wave activity considered important for consolidating memories. Set an alarm clock. A slow-wave encounter is likely to leave you with what Léger calls “sleep drunkenness” instead of a feeling of rejuvenation.
️♀️Resource: Article, The Sleep Doctor, Did you know that there are 9 types of naps? What's the right one for you? I enjoyed this playful and very creative naming system on the varied kinds of naps: The CEO nap, The Nap A Latte™, The Sports nap, The Disco nap, The Siesta, The Shift Work nap, The Teen nap, and The Jet Lag nap.
I tend to gravitate towards the CEO, Nap A Latte (or Tea!), and Jet Lag Napper. How about you?
I also greatly appreciated this callout around naps and mental health & insomnia:
CAUTION: Remember, naps aren’t for everyone. If you’re suffering depression, you’re likely experiencing some type of sleep issue, and your circadian rhythms may be disrupted. Napping can make your depression worse. People with insomnia also shouldn’t nap. For insomniacs, a daytime nap can make it harder to fall asleep on schedule at night. Naps should work with your nighttime sleep routine, not undermine it.
️♀️Resource: PDF, Sara Mednick, Nap Manifesto If you want to collect reasons to nap from the leading thinker on naps right now, check out this manifesto. She also has a book aptly called, Sara Mednick - Take a Nap, Change your life!- along with a feature in NY Times called Take Naps at Work. Apologize to No One. I also did a screengrab from her TEDx talk, Give it up for the down state - sleep | Sara Mednick | TEDxUCRSalon (see below) illustrating her findings on the superiority of naps over placebo and caffeine in a study related to verbal memory and motor memory aptitude.
SLEEP SCHOLARS (These are from you guys!)
Resource: Podcast, Joe Rogan, Andrew Huberman on Joe Rogan Lots of satisfying sleep & light insights (among other things!) in this nearly 3-hour long podcast. This quote is pulled directly from the comments section: “This is possibly THE most interesting podcast I've ever watched. Was totally enthralled from start to finish.” Bio-on Andrew Huberman --> is a neuroscientist and tenured professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He has made numerous important contributions to the fields of brain development, brain plasticity, and neural regeneration and repair.
Resource: Article, Not getting enough sleep stifles positive emotions A study investigated the effects of going to bed 2 hours later than normal but getting up at the usual time. It found that people not only became more impulsive and prone to mistakes the following day but also experienced a flattening of normally pleasurable feelings.
HELP HIT THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS!
Resource: Podfest Expo, Virtual Workshop for Podfest Optimizing Sleep: Transform Your Health, Mood, & Productivity through Technology, Accountability, & Behavioral Change I’ll be speaking for Podfest Expo next Wednesday. Podfest aims to make history by attempting to hit the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for Largest Attendance for a Virtual Podcasting Conference in One Week. If you’re a podcasting newcomer or podcasting OG, join in!
Sleep Is A Skill Podcast NEW Episodes
️Resource: Podcast, The Sleep Is A Skill Podcast, 015: Dr. Deborah Rozman Ph.D, President of Heartmath, How daily Heart Rate Coherence / HRV training can change your life & sleep!
Heartmath (or as I like to call it, a lie detector for your heart rhythm / HRV) has been around for over 25 years and stands on a mountain of scientific research conducted at the HeartMath Institute on the psychophysiology of stress, emotions, and the interactions between the heart and brain. There are over 300 peer-reviewed or independent studies utilizing HeartMath techniques or technologies to achieve beneficial outcomes that have been published.
I have found Heartmath to reliably sift out if I’m truly engaged or stressed out / distracted; and provide real-time feedback to get back in the game. The color-coding system and end-of-training breakdown score speak to my own inner competitor nature. Additionally, I’ve found it to be a great tool to share with clients who are having difficulty with anxiety and depression impacting their sleep - to remind them that they really do have a say over their emotional state. It is also great for accountability since an easy screenshot on your smartphone will tell a compelling story of your emotional state in that session.
In this episode, we discuss:
- What is Heartmath? How do their products help with stress & sleep? How do people use the training in daily life and what it is measuring?
- What can you anticipate if you begin this training for your wellbeing and sleep?
- Understanding heart rhythm coherence and how things like caffeine, certain foods, or sleep deprivation can impact your scores/results
- Are there particular goals that we can have around the coherence numbers?
- What’s the difference between meditating and Heartmath training?
- How can you make sense of stark differences in Heartmath readouts in different states? What does that mean for your mental and physical health?
As always, please send me your thoughts on this week’s obsession or your current fascinations.
P.S. Fed up with your sleep? Here are four ways I can help you transform your sleep:
1. Subscribe to The Sleep Is A Skill Podcast
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2. Take our Free Sleep Assessment
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3. Check out the Sleep Is A Skill Sleep Resource Recommendations
Inspired to transform your sleep but aren’t clear what sort of resources will help? These will help.
4. Book a 15 minute Call
We have something for everyone, no matter where you’re at with your sleep. Book a quick call to discuss what the next best steps are for you.