Ever feel jet-lagged after daylight savings? March 9 is National Napping Day and it’s the perfect day to help you recuperate from the “spring forward.” Don’t doze off as I tell you this, I promise this won’t be a snooze fest! Napping is actually scientifically proven to be better for you than coffee or energy drinks. So now you can feel less guilty about enjoying this not so guilty pleasure. You may have lost that extra hour in the day but you can feel like you caught up on some sleep by celebrating the day in style.
History of National Napping Day
National Napping Day was created in 1999 by a Boston University professor and his wife. William Anthony Ph.D. and his wife Camille Anthony created this holiday to spread awareness on the importance of getting enough sleep and its benefits. The holiday was meant to help make up for the amount of sleep lost when the hour changes. The date was chosen because studies have shown that people are already at their most tired and sleep deprived after daylight savings changes. The change of the hour really makes a difference, but National Napping Day can make you feel like there was no change at all.
However, even though the holiday wasn’t created until 1999, the Spanish already had the tradition of taking an afternoon “siesta.” That’s good news for Spain, since daylight savings won’t affect the routine of the people there too much. The Ancient Romans were known to take midday naps as well. With the hustle and bustle of modern life midday naps seem more like a thing from the past to most people. Naps are seen as luxuries now, a symbol of extra time most of us can’t afford. But back then naps were seen as a necessity and were sometimes used for medicinal purposes and even religious practices. Even though National Napping Day was created 21 years ago, it still doesn’t have actual recognition as an official national holiday. Although National Napping Day isn’t technically a real holiday, who doesn’t love a reason to nap?
National Napping Day timeline
- Present Day
To this day, the Spanish still honor the tradition of taking midday naps or “Siestas.”
- 601 AD
Naps were commonly taken in Ancient Arabia and sometimes as a part of religious practices.
- 27 BC
Ancient Roman physicians prescribed naps to their patients.
- 700 BC
The Ancient Greeks would regularly take naps during the hottest part of the day.
National Napping Day FAQs
What if I don’t have time to nap?
Don’t worry there’s still some things you can do! The best course of action is to try and get more sleep at night. Try exercising or taking a hot bath before bed.
How long is the best time to sleep for a nap?
It all depends on the results you want. A 20 to 30 minute nap will have you feeling energized and ready to go back to work. A 60 minute nap will leave you more rested but can make you feel lethargic or drowsy when you wake up. A 90 to 120 minute nap can give you the benefits of REM sleep but also takes more time.
How often should I take naps?
As tempting as it is to want to nap everyday, it is recommended to nap two to three days a week. Napping everyday could be a sign of improper sleep during the night or a health issue.
National Napping Day Activities
Take a nap
This might seem obvious but with our busy schedules sometimes we ignore the things our bodies need, like rest. The best way to enjoy this holiday is to get comfy and rest. Close the curtains, set your phone to silent, snuggle up in your favorite pj’s and relax.
Set up a sleeping playlist
Sometimes even though we want to relax or fall asleep we just can’t seem to turn our brains off. Setting up a calm music playlist can help your brain relax and make it easier to fall asleep. This is a great way to unwind and discover new music.
Turn off your phone
This is the hardest one I know! But when we’re distracted by what's going on on our phones it's hard to get our body and brain to be relaxed enough to fall asleep. If you can’t bear to turn it off then set it to silent and try to get a quick 20 minute nap in.
5 Facts About Sleeping That You Didn’t Know About
You can’t dream while napping
If you are sleeping the recommended time for napping then you shouldn’t be able to dream.
If you do dream you may be sleep deprived
The only way you can dream is if you take a 90 minute nap which is not as recommended.
Not all naps are the same
Taking a 20 to 30 minute nap will make you feel energized while a 60 minute nap will make you feel more rejuvenated albeit somewhat groggy.
REM sleep is the most important stage when sleeping
REM sleep is very beneficial to cognitive function and can be achieved through longer naps.
You have REM sleep during a 90 minute nap
90 to 120 minute naps encompass all stages of sleep including REM sleep.
Why We Love National Napping Day
It’s super healthy for you
There are so many health benefits to napping that may make you think twice next time you decide to skip a nap, including increased awareness, brain performance and a decrease in stress. One of the biggest benefits is that it keeps your heart healthy. People who nap reduce the risk of heart disease and heart related death. Now we can definitely say we heart National Napping Day!
They put you in a better mood
When we’re tired we are more prone to mood swings, irritability, and impulsivity, but with a short nap you can wake up feeling brand new! Studies show that taking short afternoon naps can make you feel more happy and it can even improve your sex life.
Gives us a reason to relax
Let's face it, we’re sleep deprived! Sometimes we can get caught up in our busy day to day lives and our crazy schedules. All it takes is a 20 to 30 minute nap to feel energized for the rest of the day. National Napping Day is the perfect day to let yourself hit the snooze button.