A nap is a fun way to relax on a Sunday afternoon or a hectic workday. Good naps can leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. However, some naps can leave you feeling more tired than when you first closed your eyes.
These bouts of sleep can help boost your productivity, relieve stress, and even help with working memory retention! Although naps are beneficial for the most part, there are also some downsides.
Napping can cause serious problems such as making it harder for you to sleep at night and giving you temporary grogginess that impedes your focus.
So here are some nap tips to make sure you have a great nap.
Types of Naps
Before you catch a couple of Zs you may want to decide why you’re napping in the first place. Before today I hadn’t realized naps could be categorized. I thought all naps were the same. Here are some of the most common types of naps adults take.
This is a nap taken when you know you’re going to be awake for a period of time during the night. This is a nap often taken in preparation for the sleep you will lose.
A study conducted on night shift working police officers showed that napping was an effective countermeasure to combat deteriorated vigilance associated with night work. This means that napping beforehand can alleviate some of the symptoms caused by lack of sleep.
A recovery nap occurs after you’ve not had enough sleep. This is a nap taken as compensation for the sleep lost the previous night. This is especially beneficial if you are up late or have not gotten enough sleep the previous night.
We’ve all been in a situation where we have had to burn the midnight oil, this is where a recovery nap can come in handy to ensure we are able to function optimally the next day.
This is a nap taken purely for the sake of it. It doesn’t occur when you’re sleep deprived but instead for the enjoyment of napping. I have known many (including myself) who take these kinds of naps and treat them as a necessary part of a relaxing day.
These are naps that occur when you are sick. When you are sick you require a lot of sleep to give your body the support it needs to recover. It is best to nap for as long as you deem necessary when you are sick, rather than sticking to a set amount of time.
Tips On How to Take Great Naps
1. Keep Your Naps Withing A Set Period of Time
Now that you’ve decided what kind of nap you need, it is important to time your nap accordingly. Keep in mind that studies suggest, any nap that lasts for less than 10 minutes is ineffective.
If you can only afford a very short nap, it is strongly advised to sleep for no more than 20 minutes. This is to avoid sleep inertia.
Sleep inertia is the feeling of grogginess you may get after a nap. I’m sure we have all experienced this at least once in our lives and know how unpleasant it is. It can also cause you to have slower reactions and be disoriented. This usually lasts for up to 30 minutes but can affect some individuals for up to 2-4 hours.
By timing your naps according to the sleep stages you will be able to avoid sleep inertia. Furthermore, it is suggested that if you do have the time an ideal nap lasts for 90 minutes. This is because a 90-minute nap helps you move through all the sleep stages including REM sleep.
So depending on your schedule and needs, naps should last for up to either 20 minutes or 90 minutes.
2. Pay Attention to Your Sleep Rhythm
Your sleep rhythm or circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that causes you to feel awake and sleepy depending on the time of day. So ideally your sleep rhythm should dictate when you take a nap.
If you slept at an appropriate time the night before, your sleep rhythm will reach its lowest point of alertness in the afternoon. However, if you stayed up the night before this disrupted sleep rhythm may cause your ideal nap time to be shifted to earlier in the day.
That being said, it is advised not to take naps late in the evening as this can disrupt your sleep rhythm for the night. It is best to avoid napping after 3 pm for this very reason.
3. Prepare a Nap Kit
This may be unusual but if you’re going to nap you might as well do it comfortably. If you work from home take a break on a comfy couch or your bed. For those of us who work in an office, you may need to get creative with your napping location.
Try and find a quiet and dark area to sleep in, if you’re not able to find a designated area you can try napping at your desk with some helpful sleep accessories.
An eye mask is a great way to eliminate light at your desk, and some earplugs can help with blocking out the sounds of your co-workers working about. Instead of earplugs, you can also try some relaxing sleepcasts or soft music to help you drift off peacefully.
For a little more peace and quiet maybe mention to a co-worker that you don’t want to be disturbed or mark yourself as busy for the moment.
So here are some of the tips to ensure that you get the most out of your nap. Naps are a great way to stay recharged throughout the day and personally, I love my little siestas!
Judith Louis is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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