How to Tell If You Actually Need to Nap

A lot of people, it turns out, need their daily midday snooze session to perform their best.

You guys might’ve noticed the blog was a bit sparse last week. I was off in California, hiking alongside Kourtney Kardashian (no, really!) and drinking adaptogenic lattes (work research, ya know?). It was lovely, not that you asked. But to get to my point: When I was in Los Angeles, I stayed with my good friend, Ellin. One day, when I walked back into Ellin’s apartment after a (sadly) Kourtney Kardashian-free hike, I saw her, right as I stepped foot in the door, jolt awake, sit up on the couch and proceed to pretend that she had not been sleeping — like she was ashamed of a mid-afternoon nap. It was like I’d caught her spending her afternoon watching General Hospital or sniffing glue or something.

But I am here to tell you, nappers: There is nothing to be ashamed of. As I learned over on Men’s Health earlier today, up to 40 percent of the population are what nap experts (those are real) call “habitual nappers,” meaning they need their daily snooze session to perform their best. But the question is, how do you know if you are a habitual napper or if you simply aren’t getting enough sleep at night, which is leading you to feel sleepy (cue couch session) during the day?

Well, my friends, here’s how: You can figure out if you are in this group of habitual nappers by taking a test-run nap. As Sara Mednick, Ph. D. And author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, told Men’s Health, if you shut your eyes for a midday snooze and wake up on your own after 20 to 30 minutes, feeling refreshed, you’re most likely in the camp of habitual nappers, so people who perform better with a regular midday snooze session. If you require an alarm to wake from your slumber and feel groggy when you do eventually roll off the couch, you’re probably just napping from exhaustion. (Sorry.)

So habitual nappers, rest easy knowing you aren’t lazy — you were just born this way. Shame-free under-desk naps, here you come! Psst: Note that science shows 20 minutes is the ideal nap length. (Any longer can leave you with a “sleep hangover.” No, thanks.)

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