Study Finds There’s a Right (and Wrong) Way to Nap

You might be thinking, “If I only had the time to nap, I’d be a happy camper.” The fact is most of us don’t have enough time in our insanely busy days to carve out a few uninterrupted moments for shut-eye, other than the necessary 7-8 hours we’re supposed to clock at nighttime. If you fall into this category, you’re in good company, don’t you worry.

But studies have shown that naps are actually quite beneficial to your health—and I’ve always been a big proponent of naps myself (though, I’ll admit it’s still hard to make the time). But getting the most out of a nap isn’t as easy as simply fitting in time for one. How long you nap plays an important role in whether or not you reap some real benefits.

Study from UK

One study, by researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, found that short naps, which we like to call catnaps, are the key to happiness and increased energy throughout the rest of your day. To reach their findings, the scientists surveyed 1,000 participants, asking them an array of psychological questions that detailed their napping habits. They found that those who napped briefly scored an average of 3.67 on a scale out of 5.00 indicating happiness levels. Those who reported that they did not take naps scored a 3.52 on the scale and those who napped for long periods of time reported a 3.44.

This is interesting, because it shows the benefits of putting our mind to rest even briefly. We can also do this through meditation or other calming practices, but short naps seem to do the trick well.

Napping for Your Power Type

I’ve noticed an extreme issue with fatigue, particularly among the women I treat. I’ve even found a particular “type” of woman, whom I like to call Gypsy Girls, who seem to complain the most of afternoon fatigue. Many report needing to take a nap just to make it through the evening! If this sounds like you, read more about this particular type, as well as four other “types” of women I’ve come to realize we all fall under, in my newest book Super Woman Rx, which is available wherever books are sold!

Here’s my general recommendation on napping. If you can, consider taking a short nap—even a 15-minute catnap—a few times a week. Doing so can help boost the adrenals without interfering with nighttime sleep (which we know is also vital to sustained energy and happiness).  Napping longer than 45-minutes, however, can disrupt your nighttime routine.

Here is a quick guide to establishing healthy and sustaining sleep patterns that will, in turn, make you a less tired and happier, human being.

Commit to a Bedtime

Bedtimes are not just for the kiddos! I tell my patients to stick to a routine because this helps their body learn when to unwind. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep and add one additional hour to that and make it your bedtime. This gives you a whole hour before you should fall asleep to get into the mood. Just try to get to sleep by midnight and stay asleep until 5 a.m. at least. In Chinese medicine, we consider these critical hours of sleep for women. Doing so will help keep your hormones in check. I talk to women in my Super Woman RX about the importance of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day {e.g., 11pm – 6am, or whatever works for you}. Going to bed and waking up at the same time helps your body’s internal clock and you’ll feel a difference after doing this for 2-weeks consistently.

Take Evening Supplements

Skip the prescription and over-the-counter meds that can be addicting and instead reach for the following before bedtime: 200 milligrams of magnesium and 500-1,000 milligrams of magnolia bark. Magnesium works to calm and relax you and magnolia bark helps regulate and blunt the stress hormone, cortisol.

Don’t Shy Away from Complex Carbs

Your dinner should include some of these—think quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice. Skipping complex carbs messes with the sleep neurotransmitters and will leave you restless at night.

Use Essential Oils

Calming oils like lavender, chamomile, bergamot and sandalwood are so helpful in getting you relaxed and ready for a peaceful night’s sleep—oils are always a good and gentle choice no matter your “power type!”


For more helpful advice on your “type” as well as getting proper sleep, check out my book Super Woman Rx and watch for my online course

2020-05-13T16:02:24-04:00By |Categories: Men's Health, Superwoman Wellness, Wellness|