Naps: It’s time to embrace the afternoon snooze

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — None of us get enough rest and it could be keeping you from being your best at work during the day. The answer to fixing it may be something you used to do when you were a baby.

We’re talking about naps.

“There is definitely a stigma, especially when it comes to napping in the workplace,” says Doctor Justin Brockbank with the VCU Sleep Medicine Center.

Maybe the babies are doing it right and the rest of us are doing it wrong when it comes to rest during the day.

“You may see some improvement in learning ability and memory when you take a short nap,” says Dr. Brockbank.

He s co-director of the VCU Sleep Medicine Center. He studies sleeping and sleep habits. He says naps aren’t the way to make up for lost sleep overnights but they can be the midday boost you need to get through the workday.

More and more of his patients are asking about naps. He says it all comes down timing.

“If you keep it at the 10- to 20-minute mark, you’ll get the most bang for your buck,” he said.

That doesn’t count the time it takes you to fall asleep. Sleeping longer than a 20-minute catnap and you might be doing more harm than good.

“It’s that groggy feeling after you nap,” Dr. Brockbank said. “You feel like you didn’t get any rest at all.”

“I think it takes them back to kindergarten when you had to take a nap and you got a smiley face,” says University of Richmond Health Center Registered Nurse Slade Gormus.

The University of Richmond has embraced this renaissance of midday rest. The school has a nap map on its website showing a number of places around campus that students can slumber.

“They push themselves so much around campus to be involved in everything,” says Gormus. “That just to unplug, turn the phone off, turn the computer off. It’s kind of nice to rest your brains.”

Student health services also offers these nap kits with an eye mask and ear plugs if students need help slipping into snooze mode.

Students are happy to have the encouragement.

“I usually nap in my room,” Raegan Jung said. “When it’s a pretty good day I use the hammock outside. It’s pretty relaxing.”

So, when’s the best time to grab a nap? Click here for more do’s and don’ts.

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