Are you napping the right way? Yes, there is a right way – and wrong ways – to power nap. RateMDs shares tips on how to maximize your midday shut-eye time.
Dozing off in a lecture, battling to keep your eyelids up in a meeting, snoring during a movie – we’ve all been tired before.
In fact, being grumpy and drowsy is more common than you think, with a large number of people not getting enough nighttime sleep.
Heavy eyes are usually countered with a second coffee of the day, or an energy drink for a quick fix. If those are your solutions to sleepiness, have you ever considered the elusive midday nap instead?
Naps aren’t just for toddlers you know. Well-timed power naps can boost your mood, memory, alertness, and energy, revitalizing you to finish the work day on a high note.
Plus, there’s zero commitment or schedule, and it’s completely free. According to the journal Sleep, just 10 minutes of shut-eye is all it takes to fuel a sleep-deprived body for two hours minimum.
Check out some of the best ways to maximize your naptime.
Short & Sweet
The ideal naptime range is between 10-30 minutes, the sweet spot that’ll have you feeling reinvigorated, but not groggy. Longer naps can make you less productive, cause sleep inertia, or the aforementioned period of grogginess that typically manifests after being awoken from a deep sleep.
If you can believe it, long naps can actually deteriorate your health, too. Naps over 40 minutes have been linked to higher risks of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. So to avoid the negatives of naps, remember to set an alarm!
The Pencil Trick
For the sleep-deprived, Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity is only second to his infamous Pencil Trick.
Unlike his theory of relativity, this is an easy thing to understand. Hold a pencil whenever you feel like you’re starting to drift off. When the pencil drops, it’s wake up time.
The legend goes that Einstein used this trick for his own power-napping, ensuring he’d wake up before he entered a deep, unproductive sleep.
Calm, cool, collected, and covered
The ideal setting for a nap would be a dark, cool, quiet sanctuary. If you can adjust your Thermostat between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s optimal too. Cover up with blankets to taste, and you’re all set.
For an uber naptime, don’t be afraid to employ eye masks, ear plugs, or white noise to really settle into your sleep.
Brew a ‘nappuccino’
Regular coffee drinkers won’t feel the effects of an afternoon cup of coffee (source: we’ve tried).
But having that cup of Joe before a power nap? That’ll leave you alert and refreshed when you wake up; the caffeine won’t kick in until just as you’re waking up, giving you the double-whammy of freshness from sleep & coffee.
Timing is everything
It’s not just about how you nap, but when you nap that can recharge your batteries.
The best time for a nap is the early afternoon. Naps later in the evening might confuse your body into thinking it’s bedtime. You should have at least a four-hour gap between naps and real sleep, otherwise you may experience sleep disruptions in the middle of the night.
You Might Also Like: Having Trouble Sleeping? This is How You Fall Asleep in Under a Minute
And if you’re going to take afternoon naps, try to be consistent: frequent nappers enjoy greater health benefits than those who snooze sporadically.