Should You Nap Before Working Out? Should You Nap After Working Out?

Should you nap before working out? Or should you nap after working out? This was one of the questions asked to me by a good friend and loyal reader.

The answer is before a workout. End of article.

Yeah, right.

If you’ve been reading my material for any length of time, you realize that the answer is far more complex, so let’s dig into it.

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How Does Napping Affect You? 

Napping affects different people in different ways. For some people, it energizes them, and for other people, it really sedates them.

If napping has an energizing effect on you, then do it before a workout. If napping has a sedating effect on you, then do it after a workout.

Chances are if you’re chronically sleep deprived, napping will have an energizing effect on you. But if you get the necessary amount of sleep, a nap may have a sedating effect.

What Kind of Workout? 

The other thing that you need to consider is what kind of workout do you have planned? If it’s a workout that requires a lot of motivation (for example, you’re going for a new personal record, or it’s something that you really need to psych yourself up for), then a nap before a workout is probably not a good idea, because it may be too sedating.

Whereas if it’s just a workout where you “punch the clock”, the timing of the nap may not matter all that much.

How Long Should You Nap For? 

I believe that the body tightly regulates how much sleep is required. So nap for as little or as much as you like.

If your schedule allows, don’t use an alarm clock. Go for as long as is necessary.

Again, if you’re chronically sleep-deprived, your idea of a “nap” may be 4 hours. But if you get a good quantity and quality of sleep, your nap may only be 20-30 minutes.

The reason that for the sleep-deprived person, 4 hours may be beneficial is because with chronic sleep deprivation, you create kind of a debt. You basically pay the price for not sleeping adequately, so your body and brain starts to rob you. You daydream more, your thoughts are slower, you have less energy. Why? Because your brain is desperately asking for sleep. And you’re not giving it the sleep it needs. Jerk 😉

So even if your naps end up being 4 hours initially, over time, as you repay sleep debt, they’ll get shorter and shorter, but they’ll be just as restful.

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