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Think Snoozing is Losing? Think Again!

Does anyone nap?

The value of napping: A brief overview
Napping isn’t just for babies and older adults, napping is for anyone who wants to improve their productivity and get MORE done in the day. I know, this sounds counterintuitive, right?
Well it’s been proven that in the short term having a nap can clear your mind, focus your thoughts and give your body a well deserved reboot allowing you to return to tasks fresher and more energetic!
Napping got me through a BA and a MSc
Napping got me through split shifts (6am – 11pm) at my first PT job
Napping is still something I do occasionally
And until now, napping has been my guilty little secret aswell as my secret weapon!
Clients and students alike always ask me how I manage to do so much, or where I get the energy from, and whilst a good, balanced diet and a healthy dose of exercise certainly help, having a nap now and again helps to keep me humming along nicely!
The key thing to consider when it comes to napping is the length of time. 10 minutes is usually too short to feel benefits; 30 minutes usually too long (so I feel groggy); but 20 is just perfect for me. Everyone’s nap time sweet spot will be different, yours might be 15 or 25 minutes but I’d advise keeping it under the 30minutes – once you go past that it’s no longer a nap 😉
Power nap
So why have I kept it a secret?
For a number of reasons. Not least because sleeping or having any kind of rest during the day is considered slothful. People find it abhorrent, like it’s cheating on life or something- Adults of working age aren’t supposed to NAP!!! Also because people who don’t nap have a perception of it being terribly indulgent when actually it’s making the napper more productive and, well, being tired is considered a sign of weakness, in many industries but especially in the fitness industry. We are supposed to be the ever positive and energetic motivatiors, bursting with boundless energy every hour of the day and night, our students and clients can sometimes forget we are mere humans and not the Wonder Women we appear to be (or secretly hoped we were!).
We get tried
We get cranky
We get overwhelmed
We get caught up in work
We have sleepless nights
But we still get up and give our all each day
Sometimes to achieve all this I need a nap!
Ever noticed how going to bed early is considered virtuous but sleeping in a little is considered slothful? People usually have the same attitude towards naps, but I’m here to help shed some glorious light on the nap, because #allsleepmatters!!
Sometimes you get to bed late and still have to get up early and perhaps the sleep in between wasn’t great, and so you caffeinate and yawn your way through the day.
This is what most people do. By 4-5pm they are then exhausted, working below par, struggling to concentrate and heading for a carb laden pick me up! And you know what?? that’s ok, if you can go home and chill out after finishing work at 6 then it’s no problem, but I can’t do that. When I finish teaching I always have nutrition or personal training clients in the evening, and I give everyone 100% of my energy. My service has to be as perky, as good a quality, as engaging and inspiring at 6,7,8,9pm as it was at 9,10,11am! And napping helps me achieve this. Don’t get me wrong it’s not an everyday occurrence but I’d say there’s an average of one day a week when I use this wee trick to recharge the batteries and get fighting fit for my evening work!
My favourite, when I’m just totally exhausted after doing a full day of teaching but I still want to be bouncy for clients in the evening, is to have a strong cup of coffee, get into bed, set a timer for 21 minutes, put an eye mask on and earplugs in, and just REST there until the timer goes off. And I’m usually bright eyed and bushy tailed before it does because the caffeine has kicked in!
And if you’re not a coffee drinker (who’s not?!) or overly sensitive and a slow metaboliser it’s perfectly fine to nap without the coffee first!
Of course the need to nap can always be a signal that there is something more sinister happening. It could indicate a virus, or a vitamin/mineral deficiency, digestive issues and poor quality sleep or an indication of sleep apnea to name a few. If you are constantly HAVING to nap rather than CHOOSING to nap occasionally I’d pay a visit to your GP for some tests and advice.
But napping because you’re burning the candle at both ends for a period of time is harmless.
Want to find out more?
Check out the science stuff:
Happy Monday 😀
{PS} Lee –  have I convinced you we need one of these yet…..? 😀