Do you feel tired after your workout sessions? If your answer is yes, discover why a post-workout nap could do you more good than harm.
Working out is an essential routine that promotes your well-being. It helps you to keep a check on your weight, reduce the risk of getting lifestyle diseases, improve your moods. Your brains also get to function optimally.
Working out can either boost your energy levels or leave you feeling tired. Therefore, in this article, we will investigate if napping after a workout is harmful or beneficial to the body.
Before we discuss post-workout naps, we need to understand what happens to your body during and after your workout.
A workout is any physical activity aimed at improving your fitness and your general well-being.
The body releases adrenaline immediately you start working out. The adrenaline raises your heart rate and increases the supply of blood to the brain. An increase in the circulation of blood in the brain makes you more alert.
It stimulates the brain to release endorphins. Endorphins help to reduce the effect of pain and improve your mood. The brain consumes a lot of energy during exercise.
The body burns a lot of calories during your workout session. Heat is released. It causes an increase in the core body temperature.
An increase in body temperature causes the hypothalamus to send signals to the skin to release sweat. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain responsible for regulating body temperature.
When the body needs to release heat, it causes the skin to dilate. Heat escapes into the air. The hypothalamus sends signals to the Eccrine Glands to produce sweat.
During exercise muscles contract and expand. Muscles require energy to contract. The body increases the heart rate to increase oxygen supply to the muscles. Lactic acid accumulated when this supply delays.
Calories are broken down in the form of glucose. Glycogen levels decrease as more glucose is consumed during respiration. Low levels of glycogen results in muscle fatigue. It makes you feel exhausted after a workout session.
A nap is a short period of sleep during the day. It is a perfect way to relax if you feel tired. It can also help you to catch up on lost sleep.
Some of the benefits of taking a nap include the following:
- Improved mood
- Improved energy level
- Improved performance
- Reduced fatigue
- Memory formation
- Improved learning
Understanding your body will help you make decisions that will help maintain your energy level and maintain the circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm is an internal clock that controls all the body functions. It controls your sleep and wakes up the rhythm. To do this, you need to do the following:
Your nap should be short. Twenty minutes is enough to have an effective nap. Twenty minutes is enough for you to go through the first two stages of sleep. A full sleep cycle has four phases. It includes three Non-random eye movements and one random eye movement stage. The second stage of sleep provides you with energy and alertness. Therefore, 20 minutes of sleep is enough for an effective nap.
Take your nap in the early part of the day. Taking a nap in the evening could make it hard for you to sleep in the evening. It could mess up your circadian sleep-wake rhythm.
Nap after Exercise
A lot of energy is exhausted during exercise. The energy used up depends on the intensity of the exercise, your fitness level, the duration of the exercise, and the amount of sleep you get.
It is natural to feel tired after a high-intensity level of exercise. When you begin to work out, the brain sends signals to activate your muscles. The more you work out, the more you begin to feel tired.
Your muscles contract when you exercise. A molecule called adenosine triphosphate is exhausted. Adenosine triphosphate is the molecule that is the main carrier of energy in a cell. It is broken down and converted to adenosine diphosphate. Energy is released. The removal of one phosphate produces around 30.6 kilojoules per mole of energy.
During exercise, your muscles use adenosine triphosphate to produce contractions. These molecules are exhausted. It results in muscle fatigue. The more you work out, the body releases chemical substances like serotonin and dopamine. These substances reduce the signals from the brain to fire up your muscles.
Benefits of Taking a Nap after a Workout
Taking a nap after your workout session can aid in your muscle recovery. The body releases growth hormones to the body through the pituitary glands. These growth hormones help in growth, cell repair, and metabolism.
These growth hormones also help in muscle growth and recovery from injury. The growth hormones are released during sleep.
Paying Sleep Debt
Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you are getting and the amount of sleep you are supposed to get.
Taking a nap can be a way to make up for lost sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to fatal effects like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. A nap could help reduce mild sleep debt.
The muscles experience a lot of fatigue during work out. Muscle repair and muscle recovery occur when you take a nap. The recovery happens when growth hormones are released into the blood. On the other hand, muscle repair occurs when blood flows to the muscles.
Increased Mental Alertness
Sleep helps the brain to perform its function. Taking a nap will help you boost your energy and mood. During your nap, the body removes toxins from the brain. Therefore, the brain can function better.
Taking a nap helps to jumpstart the metabolism in the body. It enables the body to burn more calories.
Drawbacks of Taking a Nap After a Workout
Taking a nap in the later hours of the day can affect your sleep at night. It is particularly true for people with sleep disorders. Taking a long nap could increase the symptoms of the sleep disorder.
Difficult to Take the Nap
Trying to take a nap right after a workout may prove difficult. The workout routine raises the core temperature of the body. It also enhances the release of endorphins and adrenaline into the blood. It makes it difficult to get a quality nap.
Fewer Calories are Burned
A short nap may slow down the body metabolism. Therefore, the body burns fewer calories during your nap. However, the effect does not persist when you wake up and continue being active. If you want to keep burning fats, you need to keep yourself active.
If your goal is to get a fitter and a healthier body, you need to get regular quality sleep. Do not just depend on these short naps.
Taking a nap longer than 20 minutes can cause grogginess when you wake up. It happens because you enter the third stage of sleep. It is the Non-Random eye movement. You will wake up feeling more tired than you did when you slept.
You can Consider a Post-Workout Nap If
- You are an athlete. Athletes’ workouts are robust.
- You perform a high-intensity workout. Feeling tired after the work out means you have pushed your body a bit harder.
- You take part in weight training, aerobic exercise, and sprinting workouts. Your body will benefit from the short naps.
You Should not Take a Post-Workout nap If
You are suffering from insomnia. It is a sleep disorder that prevents you from catching or staying asleep. Taking a nap may give you the energy to stay past your bedtime. A daytime nap will make it harder for you to fall asleep.
The effect increases when your workout is close to your bedtime. In this case, it is wise to forego the nap entirely.
A post-workout nap is perfect for you if taken effectively. It should not be too short or too long. A 20-minute nap goes through the second stage that is responsible for alertness and concentration. A nap longer than 20 minutes goes through stage three of sleep.
Waking up after the nap will leave you feeling tired and groggy. You should take a nap after a workout if you are suffering from insomnia. You should avoid naps after 3 p.m. if you need one. Taking a nap will make it even harder to fall asleep.
Athletes, high-intensity training, weight lifting, and sprint workout may make you feel tired after the workout. A nap will help you enhance muscle recovery, increase alertness, increase metabolism, and reduce fatigue.
Apart from that, you get to catch up on accumulated sleep debt. The only downside is that a nap could make it harder to sleep at night, reduce burnt calories, and make you feel groggy. Therefore, a post-workout nap is good for you if you do it effectively.