Have you ever craved a nap after an intense workout session? Ever wondered what it can do to your body? When we work out, our bodies get tired, and they naturally want to rest and recover. If you are aiming for top-notch athletic performance and muscle development, taking strategic naps becomes a valuable asset. We spoke to our expert Dr Alok Rai, Senior Consultant, Pre and Post Surgical Ergonomics and Sports Rehab Specialist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bengaluru, who explained the relationship between nap and workout.
“While we sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormones, which are essential for fixing and growing muscles. Athletes need their muscles to recover efficiently, so taking naps strategically can boost the release of growth hormones and create an environment that’s great for healing and growth”, informed Dr Rai.
This approach, which also considers things like eating well and staying hydrated, ensures that athletes keep getting better over time. In simple terms, taking naps is a powerful tool for anyone who wants their muscles to stay healthy and become good at sports.
Benefits of Taking Naps Post Workout
Dr Rai listed the benefits of post-workout naps as follows:
Physical Fatigue and the Need for Restoration
Intense physical activity demands energy and can induce fatigue. “While a post-workout nap may seem like a luxury, it often aligns with the body’s natural inclination to restore and recover”, added Dr Rai. The fatigue experienced after exercise is a signal that the body has expended energy and needs time to replenish its resources.
Also Read: The Nightly Workout Dilemma: Expert Answers If Exercising Before Bed Affects Your Sleep
Sleep and Muscle Repair
Sleep, including naps, plays a crucial role in the repair and growth of muscles. The body releases growth hormone as you sleep, which promotes muscle repair. Dr Rai informed, “If a workout leaves the individual physically drained, a nap can contribute to the overall restorative process by providing an opportunity for the body to engage in repair mechanisms.”
Exercise is not just a physical activity; it engages the mind as well. Post-workout naps can offer cognitive benefits by enhancing alertness and concentration. The brief respite allows the brain to recuperate, promoting mental clarity and focus after waking up.
The inclination to take a nap after a workout can vary from person to person. Dr Rai highlighted, “Some individuals may find that a short nap enhances their overall well-being, while others may feel recharged without the need for additional sleep. It’s essential to listen to the body and recognise its unique signals.”
According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep inertia normally causes grogginess to subside after thirty minutes, although it can linger for sixty minutes or more. Try washing your face or spending some time in strong light if you want to wake up from a nap faster.
Also Read: From Cycling To Walking: Expert Lists Benefits Of Low-Impact Workouts And Exercises To Add
Optimal Nap Duration
If one chooses to indulge in a post-workout nap, considering its duration is important. A short nap of around 20 to 30 minutes is often sufficient to reap the benefits without entering a deep sleep cycle, which could lead to grogginess upon waking.
Dr Rai concluded, “Taking a nap after a workout is a subjective experience influenced by factors such as the intensity of the exercise, individual fatigue levels, and personal preferences. While some may find it beneficial for physical and mental recovery, others may feel invigorated without additional sleep. Ultimately, whether or not to adopt the post-workout nap depends on the individual body’s signals and what makes them feel most revitalised and ready to tackle the day.”
[Disclaimer: This article contains information provided by a registered healthcare professional and is for informational purposes only. Hence, we advise you to consult your trainer if you notice any complications.]
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