The David Lloyd gym in the London suburb of Sidcup has a wide variety of exercise classes. For the masochistic fitness enthusiast, there is a class entitled Sufferfest.
The website describes the class as “A pure, attacking, climbing, fighting, Tour de France Stage. Bringing you to your knees.” We’ll take a pass on that one.
There’s also the typical assortment of yoga, Zumba, swimming, and even line dancing lessons. Amidst all of these classes, there is one diamond in the rough–nap-
This 45-minute long session is “designed to reinvigorate the mind, the body and even burn the odd calorie.” The method through which the gym accomplishes these goals is the humble nap.
The gym offers a group napping session to counter the frantic pace of everyday life. The class is specifically aimed at parents, who might find it hard to get 45 minutes of uninterrupted sleep at home.
There are surely skeptics reading this who wonder why anyone would pay an instructor and drive to the gym to take a nap. While the class is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is popular with many. In fact, the class is all booked up (don’t worry, Sufferfest still has a few openings).
The paradox of modern life means that with all of the entertainment available to us on our smartphones and all of the conveniences we have, we find it hard to tune everything out for a break.
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Performing the activity in a gym may seem unnecessary, but it’s a way to add structure and motivate people to complete the activity. And that’s a good thing because naps are really good for us.
The National Sleep Foundation says that as little as 20 minutes of napping midday can enhance motor skills and attention. If you have more time to spare, a 90-minute nap gives you REM sleep, which helps the brain make new connections and can help you solve creative problems.
Napping can also reduce stress and improve your mood. The ripple effect of these two things can have far-ranging health benefits. You’ll be more likely to make positive choices when you have less stress and a better frame of mind.
Napping is also a much healthier alternative than caffeine for getting an energy boost. Caffeine in the afternoon can cause sleep problems at night, while a short nap will give you energy without disrupting your sleep pattern.
All of this setup and effort may seem unnecessary just to get 45 minutes of shuteye. But to those who take the class and feel the benefits of a structured nap, they couldn’t be happier to go through the trouble.