Although for many napping has become a childhood memory, for others it is still something very common in their day to day. A little nap after lunch is a great pleasure for a lot of people, although very few know if the myths that revolve around napping are true or false.
The "siesta" comes from Spain
Despite being one of the features that most distinguishes Spain for foreigners, the truth is that the "siesta" is originally from Italy, more specifically of the Roman times. The word “siesta” comes from the Latin word “sexta”, which refers to the rest that many Romans took after eating and that took place at the sixth hour of the day. For them, the sixth hour took place between what for us is 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
It was much later when, thanks to the specific schedules of Spain, the "siesta" could be accommodated more easily in our day to day.
Napping worsens the quality of sleep
Another widespread myth about napping is that it will prevent you from falling asleep at night. If the nap is short, it will help rebooting the body for the rest of the tasks that remain to be done during the day, without preventing tiredness at night. If the nap is long, it will most likely make the body sleepy and may even make it easier to sleep at night.
The nap is not better the longer it is. You always hear many napping fans say that “a good nap lasts 3 hours”. This is false, since numerous studies affirm that a nap should not exceed 30 minutes, for if it is very long, the sleep cycle could reach the REM phase and, being cut during it, would make us wake up disoriented and even more tired.
Although many believe that a coffee after lunch is the best way to relieve sleep, the truth is different: a nap allows you to unload tiredness and reactivate your body, while coffee “postpones” tiredness.
Napping benefits everyone
This is not entirely true. While it helps the vast majority, it is not advised for those who suffer from insomnia or other sleep disturbances, since they tend to spread out the hours of sleep during the day and it could substantially alter rest at night.
The nap makes you fat
It is not necessary to digest before taking a nap, because if it is not very long, the body will be able to digest food during rest.
On the other hand, neither should you eat too much nor take an excessively long nap. A large amount of food will make the body more tired and increase the need to sleep: what makes us fat is the amount of food eaten and poorly digested, not the nap. However, naps longer than 30 minutes could present difficulties for the effective absorption of food.