Cat Nap Benefits & Tips

Apr 23, 2024

How often do you find yourself doing the tired zombie shuffle? We all have off-days, but if you’re constantly plagued by grogginess and lethargy, it might be time to try something new. Let’s dive into the world of cat naps and discover why you might be in need of one. And not just because you’re having one of those “I-can’t-even” afternoons; but because you should know why your body is craving some sweet slumber. Let’s discuss.


“Why am I Always Tired?”: The Science of Why Your Body’s Begging for a Break

When you picture a finely-tuned machine, what keeps it running smoothly? Oil. Sleep is the oil for the human body, and if you want to keep a tight ship, you need to make sure your brain is properly lubricated. But, as we all know, sometimes life’s a whirlwind, and it’s hard to clock in those 7-9 hours of desperately needed respite. That’s where the cat nap can swoop in and save that big, beautiful brain of yours.


Lack of Energy or Vitality: The Brain’s Bat Signal

When your brain surrenders to drowsiness, our first instinct is typically to swat it away with frustration and drink a cup of coffee. But the truth is, we should listen to our drowsiness. Studies show that a quick nap can sharpen your mind, making you more alert and attentive, especially after an energy-draining activity. However, if you’re getting enough sleep and napping regularly, there may be an underlying factor that should be addressed by a medical or sleep professional.


Your Brain on Sleep: A Memory Machine

If sleep is the oil that keeps your body running smoothly, then your brain is the hard drive, the warehouse, the Central Processing Unit. Your memories are packaged and stored in your brain. When you don’t get enough sleep, it starts to feel like those packages are getting misplaced or lost. You might find it difficult to recollect events, or even words. On the flip side of that, sleeping adequately can reinforce memory retention and accessibility. Research from Duke-NUS Medical School found that napping after learning something new helps you retain that information for the long haul.


How to Improve Sleep Quality: The Perfect Cat Nap

Now that we’ve established the “why,” let’s talk about the “how.” The perfect cap nat is an achievement envied by many, and we’re here to teach you how to get it.


The Goldilocks Zone: Not Too Long, Not Too Short

You want to hit that sweet spot - around 20-30 minutes - to avoid the dreaded sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is that groggy, “what-year-is-it?” feeling you get when you nap too long and wake up more like a disoriented bear than a sprightly kitten.


The Sleep Sanctuary: Make it Yours

Your sleep environment is everything. This doesn’t just go for napping. Whenever you hit the sack, it’s crucial that your spaces’ feng shui is locked in. You want to create a clean, dark, clutter-free space that puts your mind at ease. We have an entire article dedicated to the art of the sleep sanctuary here. This is meant to be your time, your sanctuary, your recharge station.


The Coffee Nap: An Unlikely Team

Here’s a pro tip: have a cup of coffee right before your nap. It sounds counterintuitive, but it takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to kick in - which means it’ll be kicking in at the end of your nap. This one-two punch of sleep and caffeine has come to be known as the “nappuccino,” and it’s a game-changer.


Remember folks, your body is on your side. We’ve all experienced frustration at the hands of our fatigue. But it’s important to remember that being tired isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a signal that we should pay more attention to. A nap can serve as a pause button for your overworked, under-rested brain, and transform those moments of frustration into opportunities for small wins. So go ahead, take your cat nap, and check out our other resources for improving and understanding your sleep.