I love a good nap. In fact, I try to take one every day around 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. The computer gets shut down, my phone is set to “do not disturb,” and I stretch out for a 15- to 20-minute snooze.
Some people might call it lazy, but I disagree. Your body needs sleep, and the majority of people just ignore it. Those mid-afternoon slumps are your body saying, “Hey, we’ve been up and at it for a while now; it’s time for a recharge!”
If you can squeeze one in, do it. In fact, I’d suggest you put in the effort to make time for a nap. It can make the rest of your day easier, letting you catch up on some sleep and allowing you to feel much more focused and productive. All you need is about 10 to 20 minutes for a total body/brain refresh.
In order to get the most out of your nap and make sure it’s truly effective, there are a few secrets I’ll let you in on. These tips will make your napping efficient and extremely beneficial to your overall health.
The first tip is to nap when you’re tired. If you get up at 5:00 a.m., there’s a chance you’ll start slowing down around 1:00 p.m. That’s when you should nap. When I get up at 6:00 a.m., I typically nap around 2:00 p.m.; when I get up at 7:00 a.m., I start to feel tired around 3:00 p.m. The timing will be different for everybody, but when you feel tired, take your nap. Having said that, if it’s too close to bedtime, you might want to skip it in order to make sure you sleep through the night.
My next tip is to set your alarm to go off in 10 to 20 minutes. Research indicates that this is really all you need to feel refreshed; any longer could actually end up hurting you. Research in the journal Sleep shows that a short 10-minute nap in the middle of the afternoon helps people stay alert for more than two hours, even if they are already sleep-deprived.
But don’t go over 20 minutes. Sleep inertia might set in if you sleep longer than 20 minutes. After that length of time, your body might doze a little deeper, causing you to wake up and experience the exact opposite of your desired outcome. So to avoid waking up groggy, disoriented, and unable to get the recharge you were looking for, make sure to set the alarm for 20 minutes and don’t press snooze.
So this afternoon, start getting the sleep you need and see how much of a difference it makes. Make time for a nap when you’re tired. You may be surprised to see how improved your focus, alertness, productivity, and overall wellness can be with just this short catnap.
Source for Today’s Article:
Brooks, A., “A Brief Afternoon Nap Following Nocturnal Sleep Restriction: Which Nap Duration is Most Recuperative?” SLEEP 2006; 29(6): 831–840.