I have always wondered if napping in the middle of the day actually causes one to be able to function better and feel more refreshed. I for one have never been fond of napping and do other activities to wake me up during the day; this would include working out. If I am tired I go to the gym, and after a nice workout I feel more refreshed than if I were to nap. Before researching, I thought that it would be more beneficial to workout in the middle of the day than take a nap. I hypothesized this because after a mid day nap I would wake up more tired than before verses feeling more alive after an effective workout. So what is more beneficial?
The best time to nap during the day is between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. This is the time of day when ones alertness is at its lowest level. Although naps can help this post lunch sleepiness, the nap will only be beneficial if it is between 10 and 30 minutes, any longer will cause “sleep inertia,” the feeling of haziness, and ultimately make one more tired than they were prior to the nap. A study conducted with 747 pilots from NASA, the experimental group (half) were allotted 40 minutes to nap and sleeping about an average of 25.8 minutes (this is in-between the good amount of nap time 10 to 30 minutes) and then looked at their performance change. Their work improvements went from 16% to 34% reaction time improvement compared to no change within the control group of the experiment. This showed that the randomized control experiment was in fact extremely effective. Third variables could have been in effect such as the people in the experimental group were not as tired to begin with causing them to not be as groggy when waking up.
An article in the Wall Street Journal states that “altering your diet and implementing intermittent fasting will have a far greater impact than making alterations to your exercise schedule alone.” This was surprising information to me that changing the intake of certain foods has a greater effect of staying more energized than that of working out. This is not ruling out, though, that working out can be beneficial to ones overall daily routine. After a workout, an individual can get a burst of energy lasting for about 3 hours. Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, states that sitting for prolonged periods of time can cause one to get tired more easily, and the act of standing up every 10 to 15 minutes can greatly increase ones ability to be productive during mid day fatigue. It is also noted that working out during the day can cause for better sleep at night, creating less fatigue for the day to come,
So which is better, napping mid day or working out? I believe that both have positive impacts in having one be more productive and energized during the day, dependent on how long the nap or all the workout was completed. If an individual take a quick nap mid day or just stands up every 15 minutes of doing work their day can be more constructive and cause a larger positive outlook on the day to come. More experiments and studies would have to be conducted to come out with a formal conclusion. The next time someone tells you not to nap or that working out will cause you to loose study or work time during the day, tell them that you know you will be more refreshed if you do one of these two activities leading you to have a more profitable day.