Why you should start taking naps


Homework piles on my desk and fills the tabs of my computer. Trying to get through all of them to the best of my ability feels like running against the wind. So, I do the most logical—and first—thing that comes to mind: take a nap.

It’s ironic, and I know it, but the benefits far outweigh the harms. Mental health is such a big talking point for people of all ages right now. Relaxation techniques are becoming more prevalent in forms like meditation, yoga, therapy, working out, or breathing techniques. Although I can’t speak for how beneficial goat yoga may be for some, napping is what works for me. Everyone should have some way to deal with everyday stress.

Naps are my source of relaxation. I’m a busy person. I am active in sports, volunteering, clubs, music, and academics. As these responsibilities began requiring more and more dedication, free time became a thing of the past. I would spend 8 hours in school, 2 hours at soccer practice, another 2 hours at marching band rehearsal, and end my day by doing all the homework that had accumulated. That wasn’t the only factor causing this overload. After quarantining for a year, it became extremely difficult to hang out with friends and doing stuff other than what I was responsible for felt like a chore. To put it simply, I got too comfortable.

Unintentionally, I found myself napping out of desperation for a boost. I got my energy back throughout the day. I felt more excited to do things. I even used napping as a source of knowledge as I researched the best nap lengths, napping places, and alarms, and even googled “best napping tips.” It became a part of my routine that I felt incomplete without. Others who are overworked or feeling burnt out, I believe, can easily rethink their position with something as simple as a nap.

The first step to preventing overworking and burnout is to recognize what both look like. According to an article published by Psychology Today, burnout is the overall exhaustion that is developed through prolonged or repeated stress. An indicative notion that burnout has occurred is the feeling of loss of control, whether it be from work, tasks, or responsibilities. This phenomenon has been perpetuated throughout our culture. This can be seen in the recent increase in mental health awareness. The CDC notes that over 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Mental illness can cause a wide range of challenges, from anxiety and depression to trauma and addiction.

This is where naps come in.

They promote a balance between work, daily tasks, relationships, and life. I sometimes nap when I am shifting my focus during the day. I can finish the school day, nap for 20 minutes, and be ready to work out or do some homework. My schedule hasn’t changed. The way I get through it has Everyone should have some form of self-care to relieve their stress. Even if it may seem meaningless to others, meaning is in the eye of the beholder. Ignorant people can call me lazy. They don’t know anything. Other so-called “busy people” can call it a waste of time. I don’t care.

Before getting carried away with all the reasons you should nap, remember that everything has its risks. Much like burnout and mental health, truly efficient naps require one to know their body and themselves. Napping for too long can have negative effects on nighttime sleep as it resets your circadian rhythm. The exception to this is if you are preparing to lose some sleep that night due to extra work or if you are already running on little sleep. Not knowing how fast your body falls asleep may also cause unwanted grogginess. Naps seemingly turn into a complex topic compared to the popular perspective of just falling asleep in the middle of the day, but being able to regain the control that you once felt you lost is much more rewarding.

My purpose isn’t to force everyone to start taking naps. Although, a national naptime sounds amazing. Informing others that there is a reason we have a national mental awareness month and that the next step is to start dealing with their own stresses would be a success. So, to initiate that first step, try controlled breathing, meditate, do a body scan, try yoga, and pray.

Or if you can’t make up your mind, just take a nap.