Should you nap?

Person Napping Lying on Grass with a Book | scooms

I often feel tired in the middle of the afternoon and find myself making another cup of coffee or reaching for a sweet treat. But should I be giving in to that sleepy feeling and settling down for a nap instead?

Most research and advice I've read suggests that a short nap of 20-30 minutes in the afternoon can help to improve mood, alertness and performance during the rest of the day; although it probably won’t make up for a bad night’s sleep. Scientific research also suggests that a coffee nap is a really effective way to power nap. I might give it a try! Find out how to coffee nap.

  1. Is napping normal for humans?
  2. 3 types of nap
  3. The coffee nap
  4. Top napping tips
  5. Benefits of napping
  6. Negative effects of napping

 

 

Is napping normal for humans?

Apparently more than 85% of mammals are polyphasic sleepers, sleeping for short periods throughout the day. Humans are part of the minority as monophasic sleepers, as our days are divided into two distinct periods, one for sleep and one for wakefulness. This may or may not be our natural sleep pattern however, as young children and elderly people generally need to nap and napping is a key custom for many cultures. What would the Spanish due without their daily afternoon siesta!

 

3 types of nap:

  1. Planned napping - if you know you'll be having a late night then taking a nap earlier in the day could help you to keep going later and prevent you dozing off during the evening!
  2. Emergency napping - when you suddenly feel really tired and can’t continue with whatever you are doing such as driving or using heavy and dangerous machinery, then an emergency nap can be essential for your safety.
  3. Habitual napping - when you take a nap at the same time each day. Often after lunch like the Spanish siesta! But make sure you don't sleep for long as it will interfere with your sleep later. 

 

The coffee nap

Research by scientists at Loughborough University showed that tired participants made fewer errors in a driving simulator when they took a 15 minute coffee nap even if they didn't properly sleep than others who only drank coffee or only took a nap or drank a decaf placebo. 

In a study in Japan, participants performed much better in a series of memory tests after a coffee nap, compared to participants who just took a nap or took a nap and washed their faces or had a bright light shone in their eyes. They also stated that they felt less tired.

How to take a coffee nap:

  1. Get yourself ready for a nap and set your alarm for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Drink a cup of coffee - tea and other caffeinated drinks don't contain as much caffeine as coffee so they won't be as effective.
  3. Switch on your alarm and snooze or doze for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Wake up rejuvenated with a spring in your step!

So how does it work? Our bodies produce a chemical called adenosine when we feel sleepy. Once we are asleep, our adenosine levels drop. Caffeine prevents adenosine reaching your brain which therefore helps you feel less drowsy. So, sleep decreases adenosine levels, allowing caffeine easier access to your brain receptors which results in a coffee nap increasing your energy levels more than just napping or just drinking coffee. And as it takes 15-20 minutes for the caffeine to take effect, a nap before it kicks in is ideal.

 

Top napping tips:

  1. Duration - a short nap of 20-30 minutes is best to improve short-term alertness without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.
  2. Environment - make sure that you have a peaceful place to lie down and that the temperature in the room is comfortable, around 18-20 degrees. Try to limit the amount of noise heard and the amount of light coming in.
  3. Timing - If you take a nap too late in the day, it might affect your nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep at your regular bedtime. If you try to take it too early in the day, your body may not be ready for more sleep.

 

Benefits of napping:

  1. To restore alertness, enhance performance and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA  on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
  2. To increase alertness in the period directly following the nap may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
  3. Help with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder characterised by excessive sleepiness.
  4. Psychological benefits - a nap can feel like a mini holiday!
  5. Reducing drowsy driving - sleep experts recommend that if you feel drowsy when driving you should immediately pull over to a rest area, drink a caffeinated drink and take a 20 minute nap.
  6. Night shift work can cause fatigue and impair performance - research has shown that a combination of naps and caffeine can help.

 

Negative effects of napping:

  1. Sleep inertia - feeling groggy and disorientated. While this will probably only last for a few minutes to half an hour, it can stop you getting back to work effectively.
  2. Negative effect on other sleep - a long nap or a nap taken too late in the day may adversely affect the length and quality of night time sleep.
  3. One study has indicated that napping is associated with an increased risk of heart failure in people already at risk.

SHOP NOW

 

Author: Emily AttwoodPublished: 20 September 2017Last modified: 11 April 2024





Also in The scooms blog

Deep Fitted Sheet on Bed | scooms
Deep fitted sheets

A fitted sheet should fit your mattress perfectly without any loose material or being too tight to pull over the mattress corners. All you need to know in a 3 minute read!

Read more →

Wool Dryer Balls in A Tumble Dryer | scooms
Top tips for cutting the cost of your energy bills
Energy prices are on the rise and the cost of running our homes is increasing. Here are some top tips on how to cut the cost of your bills from the scooms team.

Read more →

Duvets rolled on a bench to show different thicknesses
Thin duvets for summer
Thinking of investing in a thinner duvet ? Don't put up with being hot and sweaty during warm summer nights, swap to a thinner summer duvet this year for a blissfully cool night's sleep every night!

Read more →

Egyptian cotton flat sheet on Bed | scooms
Flat sheets vs fitted sheets
We're excited to be introducing flat sheets to our Egyptian cotton bedding range in September. Here's everything you need to know about flat sheets versus fitted sheets.

Read more →

Bedding size guide

DUVET SIZE GUIDE

These are standard UK bedding measurements so if you know your mattress size, you can easily work out which duvet size you need. (Width x length.)

UK sizes Duvet size Mattress size
Single 135 x 200cm (53 x 79") 90 x 190cm (36 x 75")
Double 200 x 200cm (79 x 79") 135 x 190cm (53 x 75")
King 225 x 220cm (89 x 87") 150 x 200cm (60 x 78")
Super king 260 x 220cm (102 x 87") 180 x 200cm (72 x 78")

US/CANADA BEDDING SIZES: Approximate matches to UK sizes are US King/UK Super king, US Queen/UK King,  US Full/UK Double and US Twin/UK Single.

EUROPEAN BEDDING SIZES: Each size - Single, Double, King and Grand king - is a little larger than the UK equivalent.

Measure your mattress to see which size bedding you need: our UK v European v US mattress comparison guide.

 

DUVET TOG RATING GUIDE

Young children can overheat so if they are old enough to use a full size bed, we recommend using a single size 4.5 tog duvet.

 Tog rating Season / heat Feel
2.5 tog High summer / hot sleepers Light thermal insulation
4.5 tog Summer Lower thermal insulation
9 tog Spring & Autumn Cosy medium heat
All season 13.5 tog 4.5 tog + 9 tog Very warm
All season 11.5 tog 2.5 tog + 9 tog Warm
All season 7 tog 2.5 tog + 4.5 tog Lower warmth

 

DUVET FILL WEIGHT GUIDE

Our goose down duvets have high 700 fill power. Fill weight is measured in GSM (grams per square metre). For example view our 9 tog king size goose down duvet for more duvet details.

Fill weight (not total duvet weight)
Single All seasons - 788gsm
9 tog - 486gsm 
4.5 tog - 302gsm 
2.5 tog - 220gsm
Double All seasons - 1168gsm
9 tog - 720gsm
4.5 tog - 448gsm
2.5 tog - 320gsm
King All seasons - 1478gsm
9 tog - 911gsm
4.5 tog - 567gsm
2.5 tog - 400gsm
Super king All seasons - 1671gsm
9 tog - 1030gsm
4.5 tog - 641gsm
2.5 tog - 480gsm

 

PILLOW SIZE GUIDE

Our pillows come in two sizes and two firmness options. (Width x length.)

Standard  50 x 75cm
King 50 x 90cm

 

BED LINEN SIZE GUIDE

Our fitted sheets are deep fit, up to 40cm / 15.7" mattress depth. And our duvet covers fasten with large, easy to use buttons. (Width x length.)

Duvet cover Fitted sheet Flat sheet Pillowcase (pair)
Single 140 x 200cm 90 x 190cm 180 x 275cm
Double 200 x 200cm 135 x 190cm 230 x 275cm 50 x 75cm (Standard)
King 230 x 220cm 150 x 200cm 275 x 275cm 50 x 90cm (King)
Super king 260 x 220cm 180 x 200cm 305 x 275cm

 

MATTRESS PROTECTOR SIZE GUIDE

Our mattress protectors are deep fit, up to 40cm mattress depth. Choose the same size protector as your mattress size. (Width x length.)

Mattress protector size Mattress size
Single 90 x 190cm 90 x 190cm
Double 135 x 190cm 135 x 190cm
King 150 x 200cm 150 x 200cm
Super king 180 x 200cm 180 x 200cm 

 

£10 off your first order over £200!

Luxurious bedding & towels | scooms

+ First access to new products, clearance sales & special offers.