10 Tips For Napping
10 Tips For Napping
There are a plethora of health benefits of napping, and much more than just not being so tired during the day. Although, being alert and not tired is one of the best ways to stay safe on the roads, on the job, and when performing regular activities around the house. Napping can help you improve your mental cognition and alertness, which is usually the goal of most power naps. Napping improves memory and helps you learn by taking you through the stages of sleep where learning and memory are processed.
Having the right amount of sleep is also good for your immune system and napping can be a great way to catch up on lost shuteye without causing any other sleep disturbances. That is as long as you’re napping at the right time of day, and for the right amount of time, which is included in our top 10 tips for napping.
- Take Shorter Naps
Our first few tips for napping are coming to us from sleep experts at the Mayo Clinic. It’s recommended that you only take naps for 10 to 20 minutes. Longer naps usually increase the likelihood that you’ll wake up feeling more tired than when you first laid down. It is noted that younger adults seem able to handle taking longer naps without feeling tired better than when compared to older adults.
- Nap Early in the Afternoon
If you nap after 3:00 p.m. you are more likely to interfere with your natural sleep cycles. This means if you nap after 3:00 p.m., you may not be tired when it’s time to go to bed for the night. Of course, this is assuming you don’t work the night shift. If you do work the night shift or other odd hours, taking a nap before whatever time is equal to 3:00 p.m. for your schedule is the best time to take a nap.
- Make Your Nap Spot a Comfortable
In order to fully maximize the benefits of your nap, you should create your own napping environment. One tip for napping is to make your nap spot as comfortable as possible by starting with a nice mattress, the right pillows, and plenty of comfy blankets to wrap yourself up in. It’s much easier to nap if you feel comfortable, and having the right sleep accessories can help you do just that.
- Turn Off The Lights
Napping is easier in the dark because darkness facilitates sleep naturally. Wherever you decide to nap, try to avoid places with sunlight or artificial light. This can be achieved by putting up light-blocking curtains over your windows and shutting off any electronic devices that may be emitting blue light. Blue light is known to block the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Without melatonin, you may not be able to fall asleep or stay asleep during your nap.
- Set The Thermostat
It’s easier to fall asleep if your sleeping environment is at the right temperature. Setting the thermostat to between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit promotes healthy sleep cycles and helps you fall asleep faster. To get the most out of your nap time, you want to be napping for as much of the time allotted as possible. Helping yourself fall asleep faster by napping in the right temperature setting is a great way to take advantage of the benefits of naps.
- Take a Long Nap if You Have Time
Although taking shorter naps is our number one tip for napping, taking long naps is recommended if you have the time to complete a full sleep cycle, which is about 90 minutes. This will allow your body to go through all of the stages of the sleep cycle, including REM, which is super beneficial for several aspects of your health and wellbeing.
- Try a Coffee Nap
We know, coffee for napping sounds like a contradiction, but oddly enough it can help you nap. Caffeine takes about 20 minutes for the effects to begin after you drink it. Drinking one cup of coffee before you lie down for a short nap can help you wake up when you need to, and prevent you from napping for too long. Essentially, the caffeine won’t start to wake you up until the 20-minute mark, so if you time it right, coffee before a nap could be just what you need to get the job done.
- Consider Your Couch Over Your Bed
This is another tip for taking short naps. Sometimes your bed can be too comfortable and you might not want to get out of bed when your nap alarm goes off. For this reason, some sleep experts recommend napping on your couch or a relaxing chair to make sure you’re comfortable enough for a nap, but not so comfortable that you decide to call it a day and stay in bed until the next morning.
- Set An Alarm
Much like the coffee nap, setting an alarm for your nap will help you wake up when you plan to. For short naps, set your alarm for about 20 to 30 minutes as we mentioned before. If you have the time to take a longer nap, set your alarm for 90 minutes to avoid starting the stages of your sleep cycle over again. This will help you feel more alert and less groggy when you wake up from a nap. Even though most of us use our phones as alarms these days, using another alarm is recommended so you can avoid the blue light exposure from your phone.
We already know that mediating for sleep is a common suggestion for getting better sleep every night, and the same goes for naps. By removing distractions and focusing on the present moment you can calm yourself down to a better sense of relaxation. In turn, you’ll be more likely to fall asleep faster, which can be a great benefit when you’re trying to nap for the right amount of time.