annually on July 20th
Humans are monophasic sleepers, meaning that they devote one part of the day to sleep, and the other part to being awake. But there is one exception to this. Naps! And being that today is Nap Day, it's the perfect day to take one.
Naps provide numerous benefits, as long as they aren't too long. Naps that are about 10 to 30 minutes in length improve mood, alertness, and performance—both mentally and physically. The alertness that naps provide can last for a few hours time. Naps of 10 minutes in length provide the most benefit of improved cognitive performance and reduced sleepiness. Naps also provide relaxation and rejuvenation.
Not all naps are beneficial, though. If the length of a nap is too long, it can make a person groggy or disoriented. This may last up to a half an hour, and be particularly bad for those who need to do a task immediately after waking up. Naps that last too long can also negatively impact nighttime sleep, as can naps that are taken too late in the day. Beyond this, naps also have the stigma of being for lazy people. Some people have trouble taking naps as well. Some find it hard to nap in places that aren't their home. Others find it difficult to sleep during the day at all.
There are a few types of naps. Planned or preparatory napping is when naps are taken before someone is sleepy. They take them when they know they are going to be up later than their normal bedtime. Emergency napping is done when someone gets tired all of a sudden and can't continue what they are doing. For example, this type of napping is used when someone gets tired when driving. Habitual napping is when someone takes a nap at the same time each day. Young children often do this, as do some of the elderly. Adults may get into the routine of napping after lunch.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by taking a nap! In order to reap its benefits, make sure it's about 10 to 30 minutes long. It's a good idea to make sure you have a good sleep environment too, with good room temperature, and limited light and noise. Also, make sure that you aren't napping too close to the morning or evening. Besides napping in your bed, perhaps you could nap in a chaise lounge chair or a hammock. Even though it may not be the best for light or noise, napping on a towel at the beach may be a good option as well.