Daytime Naps, Overlooked Secret to Reducing Stress?

Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.

IN BRIEF

Our kindergarten teacher was really onto something with the apple juice/crackers/nap combo. Here are some surprising ways that making a habit of a midday snooze can support your wellness.

It is clear from scientific studies that sleep is vitally important at every stage of human life. Sleep powers the mind, heals the body and tunes every system that runs us. 

On the other end of the spectrum, a lack of sleep can have a significant negative impact on our health and can lead to severe bouts of stress

Stress can sometimes be a good thing and is a perfectly natural reaction. It protects against perceived threats and physical dangers. But when pressures of daily life become too much, prolonged periods of stress can be extremely concerning. 

One of the main consequences of stress is lack of sleep. Insufficient sleep can then cause further stress, and this vicious cycle can lead to various adverse health conditions including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It may even decrease life expectancy. (1)  

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

To enhance our health, and prevent stress, how much sleep do we need… and what are the benefits?

The National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that a healthy adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development. Adults over 65 are advised to sleep between 7 to 8 hours per night. (2)  

Napping has also shown to have beneficial results, and can be one way to top-up, or meet our recommended sleep hours. Napping is a too-often overlooked secret to maintaining good health and reducing stress. (3)  

Naps Reduce Stress, And More

Napping can be called many things – power-nap, cat-nap, siesta, 40-winks, a quick snooze, or even a therapy nap. But whatever you wish to call it, taking a nap can have many health benefits:

  • Increased alertness: Research has shown that taking a 30-minute nap can increase alertness and cognitive outcomes. It may be an effective strategy for athletes to overcome physical deteriorations in performances caused either by sleep loss or by 

fatigue. (4) 

  • May improve concentration and accuracy: A 2009 study revealed napping may improve concentration, vigilance, and accuracy. (5) 
  • Enhanced learning: Napping during the day can strengthen your learning skills. Based on studies, not only does napping boost your concentration and memory, which can help you learn and retain facts, but studies have also shown that immediately after a nap, the ability to learn new knowledge is increased. (6) 
  • Can lower blood pressure: New research indicates that blood pressure can be dramatically reduced by a midday nap. The findings of a study presented at the Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology in 2019 indicate that midday sleep appears to be as effective as other lifestyle improvements, such as decreasing salt and alcohol intake, in lowering blood pressure levels. Lowering blood pressure can help protect the heart. (7) 
  • Be happier: Your mood can be boosted by napping throughout the day. Short naps raise energy levels and help get you through lower periods in the afternoon. It has also been related to improved positivity and higher anger tolerance. If you did not get a good night’s sleep last night, taking a short nap will also make you feel less tired, irritable, and stressed. (8)   
  • Anti-aging: One study found that good sleepers had significantly lower intrinsic skin aging compared to poor sleepers. In addition, those who sleep better report a significantly better perception of their appearance and physical attractiveness compared with poor sleepers. (9)  

How To Get The Most Out Of Napping

You may think about taking a nap if you’re sleep-deprived, stressed, or just looking for a way to relax. However, napping at the incorrect time of day or for too long may backfire. Identify how to get the most out of a nap and the best conditions to create for napping.

  • Keep it short: Aim to nap for only 10 to 30 minutes. The longer you nap, the more likely you are to fall into a deeper sleep (sleep inertia) and feel groggy afterward. Younger adults, however, may be able to withstand lengthier naps.
  • Take naps in the early afternoon around midday to 1 p.m. Napping after 3 p.m. may inhibit nighttime sleep. Individual factors, such as a need for sleep, sleeping schedule, age, and medication use, also can play a role in determining the best time of day to nap.
  • Create a peaceful and quiet environment: Nap in a quiet, dark place with comfortable room temperature and few distractions.
  • After napping, allow a little time to wake up before resuming activities – especially those that require a quick or sharp response.

Need Help Napping?

While creating the right environment and atmosphere for napping during the day is important, what happens if you are unable to fall asleep? The daily stresses, anxieties, thoughts, and problems that race around your mind can prevent a good daytime nap as well as night-sleeping. 

One of the best solutions may be to take a herbal supplement. Adding a high-quality, natural supplement such as Be Serene to a healthy diet can help relax, de-stress, and give an overall feeling of calm – all crucial elements when adding daytime napping to your routine. For many people, the Instant Relief formula will work really for napping, plus it works instantly.  For best results, take both Be Serene and IR. After a 20-30 minute cat nap, you will feel refreshed!

The 100% natural formula is designed to rapidly alleviate anxiety. Be Serene works with the body and brain to restore the nervous system to a normal state of calm. 

To foster a state of tranquility, happiness, and relaxation, Be Serene combines 5 pure, and very high-quality, natural ingredients.

  • Mulungu: Studies suggest that Mulungu works extremely well to relax and relieve anxiety. A powerful yet gentle plant, it has been used in traditional medicine to relieve anxiety for thousands of years! It may even help reduce nicotine cravings, improve heart health, and boost brainpower.
  • Holy Basil: Also known as Hot Basil, Indian Basil, or Tulsi, this herb has been used for over 3,000 years due to its healing properties. Along with Mulungu, it delivers a natural source of anxiety relief.
  • Shatavari is used in traditional Indian medicine to help patients with physical and mental stress. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties to boost your immune system, help maintain blood sugar, fight signs of aging, and helps reduce depression too.
  • Rehmannia: Rehmannia root supports the entire body and reduces your body’s stress reaction and promotes calm. It may also help balance your hormones leading to a relaxed state of being.
  • Schisandra: Also known as magnolia vine, this plant not only reduces anxiety but can help to eliminate stress by reducing levels of stress hormones in your body. Schisandra naturally balances the mind and body and can even improve brain function.

Daytime napping is not for everyone. Some people don’t have time through other commitments, while others don’t feel the need. But don’t rule it out completely as it just may be the overlooked secret to reducing and relieving stress.

Sources

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29073412/
  3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2008.00718.x
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30239491/ 
  5. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2008.00718.x 
  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ejn.12118 
  7. https://www.acc.org/about-acc/press-releases/2019/03/07/08/56/a-nap-a-day-keeps-high-blood-pressure-at-bay/ 
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886915003943
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25266053/ 

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Sources

About Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.

Dr. Morgan is an expert in Functional and Integrative Medicine with a Strong Emphasis in stress related illnesses like anxiety and insomnia. In addition to his 20 years of work in Functional Medicine, he has expanded his practice to include work on the deeper aspects of our being that point to the root cause of our illnesses working with Mind Body Wellness, Energy Medicine, and Healing with Consciousness.
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