While napping seems like a simple concept – go to sleep when your body is tired – there is an art to it. And while napping seems like an extravagance, 15 minutes of napping can actually prove beneficial to productivity and overall health. Here are some tips for a perfect nap.
Tips for a Perfect Nap
How Long Should a Nap Be
Keeping your nap down to 10-20 minutes provides the best benefits. It boosts alertness and energy in a short amount of time. A longer nap will not give you more energy. Instead, longer naps put you in a heavier stage of REM sleep, making it harder to wake up feeling refreshed. If you do sleep long enough to enter into REM stage sleep, make sure you can commit to at least 90 minutes, getting you through an entire REM cycle, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed. Many nappers find it helpful to set a gentle alarm to keep from going into deeper stages of sleep.
When to Take a Nap
The best time to nap is between 1 and 3 pm. Most people experience sleepiness right after lunch, making it the perfect time to fall asleep. Additionally, this time frame is far enough away from nighttime that it won’t impede your nighttime sleep.
Where to Take a Nap
Make sure you have a restful place to nap. Comfortable temperature, minimal noise, and light will ensure a more restful nap. If necessary, use a sleep mask or earplugs to keep daytime interruptions at bay. Taking off your shoes, getting under a blanket and lying down are other tips for taking an efficient and effective nap.
Naps Don’t Replace Nighttime Rest
If you’re suffering from insomnia, napping may only add to your nighttime frustrations. So, don’t trade daytime napping for nighttime rest. If your insomnia goes on for more than a few weeks, consult your healthcare provider as it may be symptomatic of an underlying sleep disorder.
Use Coffee to Your Advantage
One last tidbit – and it will seem counter-intuitive: Drink a cup of coffee. It’s true. Because caffeine takes 30 minutes to kick in, you will wake feeling refreshed and ready to go.