Trialled at the gym’s Sidcup location in London during the last weekend of April, Napercise replaced weights and high tempo music with snuggly beds and ambient sounds, creating the optimal environment for sound snoozing.
The idea for the class is rooted in reports that the average Briton doesn’t get nearly enough sleep, particularly parents, 26% of whom claim to get less than five hours a night on average. For them, the afternoon scheduling time is ideal, and spaces for the trial classes were fully booked.
The health fallout of not getting enough shut-eye is dramatic. According to research, the repercussions of long-term sleep deprivation can be as serious as increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. But not getting 8 hours a night can also impact your general wellbeing goals, leaving you without the energy to workout and lacking the self-control to make healthy food decisions (pizza seems oh-so appealing when we’re fuzzy-headed and feeling sorry for ourselves).
A Stanford University study found that lack of sleep messes with our metabolic hormones, reducing our leptin production, which tells us we’re full, and increasing the amount of gherkin — the hormone that triggers appetite and cravings for sweet, starchy foods.
Although there’s really no substitute for the physiological restoration that happens overnight, a nap provides immediate benefits including improved sense of alertness, enhanced performance, and bolstered mood, that tide you over until bedtime. To get the most out of a nap shoot for 20-30 minutes — any longer and you’ll enter the deeper stages of sleep that make it harder to wake up and will likely leave you feeling groggy.
Is Napercise gimmicky? Well, yes. But it’s also addressing arguably the most important and commonly neglected aspect of your health by providing a comfortable, sleep-optimized space to wind down and catch up on your rest.