Health club tests daytime napping to boost mood, mental alertness
A U.K. health club is experimenting with 'Napercise.' (baranq /shutterstock.com)
Published Thursday, May 11, 2017 8:41AM EDT
The latest idea being offered up as an answer to the ever elusive good night's sleep is "Napercise," a gym class that involves sleeping rather than working out. Currently being trialed at a U.K. health club, Napercise is aimed at sleep-deprived parents to help them get some much-needed shut-eye. But is a Napercise class really the answer to our global sleep deprivation?
Health club David Lloyd Clubs came up with the idea of a Napercise class after research revealed a "tiredness epidemic" across the U.K., with 86 per cent of parents admitting to suffer from fatigue, and 26 per cent regularly getting less than 5 hours sleep a night.
After 19 per cent of sleepy parents also admitted to having had a nap at work, with 5 per cent even confessing to forgetting to pick up their child from school due to tiredness, the health club decided to trial a dedicated space and time to sleep, rather than trying to catch up on some zzzzs at work.
The "Napercise" class has been designed to help combat some of the problems caused by lack of sleep, and aims to "reinvigorate the mind, improve moods and even burn the odd calorie." It has been based on research which has revealed some of the health benefits of daytime napping, including a boost in alertness, reduced feelings of anxiety or stress, and a better mood.
For those wondering what a napping class in a gym might involve, there is no hidden exercise, it really is just sleeping. The gym equipment and spin bikes have all been replaced by single beds, which guests can crawl into for a 45-minute nap, or simply some relaxation time before continuing on with their day. The studio temperature is dropped to a level that promotes calorie burning during sleep, although the real reason for the class is the sleep itself.
However, the need for more sleep isn't just a problem limited to British parents.
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found one in three American adults is not sleeping the recommended minimum of seven hours a night, with a 2016 U.S. study which looked at sleep patterns in 100 countries finding that social pressures are contributing to a "global sleep epidemic."
Chronic lack of sleep is a serious problem and affects not just day-to-day tiredness, concentration, and mood, but according to the CDC also increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and has been linked in previous studies to an increased risk of other conditions including asthma and depression.
At the moment the Napercise classes are limited to the U.K. trial. However, David Lloyd is open to rolling it out across the country if successful. For those who can't attend a class, or who don't want to sleep in a room full of strangers, a nap in the comfort of your own home can still give a health boost to those struggling to sleep at night, although improving our bedtime habits for a good night's sleep is also part of the long-term solution of the current sleep crisis.