Napping is the New Black

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While working from home can have its challenges, we’ve collectively embraced the perks—chief among them, the ability to faceplant on your bed or couch for a midday nap. But giving in to a nap and doing it right is a challenge unto itself. As kids, we nap daily, but as adults, napping can feel charged with negativity. It's time to ditch that guilt because napping isn't just for kids; it's a powerful tool for us elders too.

The Benefits of Napping

  1. Improved Cognitive Function Ever find yourself in a post-lunch lull, staring blankly at your screen while your brain decides to take a vacation? A 2021 study in General Psychiatry found that napping boosts mental agility. Participants who took short naps after lunch performed better on cognitive tests than those who didn't nap. So, are naps good for you? Absolutely! And if your boss catches you napping, just tell them you're optimising your brain for better productivity. Science says so!
  2. Stress Reduction and Mood Enhancement At the end of your emotional rope, especially with the kids home for school holidays? Napping can significantly reduce stress and improve mood. Feeling tired or sleep-deprived can negatively affect your emotional state, but a short nap can help you feel refreshed and more positive. Naps have been shown to regulate emotions, reversing negative responses and promoting a happier mindset.
  3. Cardiovascular Health Regular napping may also benefit your heart. Research indicates that taking one or two naps per week can lower the risk of cardiovascular complications. Since stress and lack of sleep are known risk factors for heart disease, incorporating naps can be a proactive step towards better heart health. Yay!
  4. Appetite Control and Weight Management Quality rest is crucial for managing appetite and weight, especially after weight loss surgery. Lack of sleep disrupts hunger-regulating hormones, leading to increased cravings and calorie intake. When you're sleep-deprived, your leptin levels drop, making you feel less satisfied after eating, while ghrelin levels rise, increasing your hunger. By incorporating naps into your routine, you can help regulate these hormones, reducing cravings for high-calorie foods and supporting your weight management goals.

How to Nap as Part of Your Self-Care Routine

  1. Timing is Key Nap before 2 p.m. to avoid interfering with your nighttime sleep. Napping too late can make it harder to fall asleep at your regular bedtime.
  2. Keep it Short Aim for a 20-minute nap. I’ve personally never managed to achieve this, but I hear a shorter duration helps you avoid entering deep sleep, which can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented upon waking.
  3. Schedule Your Naps Treat your nap like an important meeting. Block off time in your calendar to ensure you make it a priority, honouring it as an opportunity to relax and recharge. I know how tempting it is to want to be productive, but you will be more efficient and in a better mood if you give yourself this space and time.
  4. Create a Restful Environment Make your napping space as peaceful as possible. Turn off your phone, kick out the kids, close the curtains or use an eye mask, or a white noise machine to minimise disruptions.
  5. Skip the Coffee Nap Trend Drinking coffee right before a nap is a recent trend that some people swear by. The idea is that caffeine has a delayed effect, so once you wake up from your power nap, the caffeine kicks in, and you feel even more energised. But not everyone metabolises caffeine the same way, so take care with this one. The other issue is that drinking coffee later in the day could potentially interfere with your sleep later that night.

Rest Beyond Napping

Rest isn't limited to just napping. Here are other forms of rest that can support your well-being:

  • Physical Rest: Quality sleep, stretching, and nourishing food.
  • Mental Rest: Activities that don’t require intense focus, like gardening or baking.
  • Emotional Rest: Journaling, therapy, or healthy emotional expression.
  • Social Rest: Time alone, intimate moments, or engaging with a supportive community.
  • Sensory Rest: Silence, soothing scents, and comfortable clothing.
  • Spiritual Rest: Meditation, prayer, or yoga.
  • Creative Rest: Engaging in arts and crafts or reading a fantasy novel.
  • Playful Rest: Fun, unproductive activities like watching a romcom or playing a board game.
  • Ecological Rest: Spending time in nature, such as hiking or bird watching.
  • Altruistic Rest: Volunteering or acts of kindness without expecting anything in return.


Prioritising consistent sleep patterns, incorporating naps, and embracing various forms of rest can boost cognitive function, emotional well-being, heart health, and weight management. Embrace napping as a valuable tool in your self-care routine and reap the rewards of a well-rested life. Remember, napping isn't just a luxury; it's your secret weapon!

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