Not everyone thinks that napping is a good idea – although it didn’t do Einstein, JF Kennedy and Thomas Edison any harm. So if you want to avoid that sluggish post-nap hangover, here’s our quick guide to getting it right.
Our busy and stressful lives mean that we are often deprived of sleep. We work long ours, socialize until late (or early) and sleep seems dispensable. Sometimes sleep apnea or a partner’s snoring keep us awake. But something’s got to give, and it’s often our health. For more on that, look here.
If you want to nap effectively read on.
Advantages to Napping.
- Improve your mood
- Improve your memory
- Boost your daytime productiveness
- Makes you feel more alert.
How to Power Nap.
- Time? If you’re a daytime worker, after lunch, between 1 and 3pm is best. Our melatonin levels dip around this time, and with them our energy levels. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycles. Napping any earlier and it will be difficult to fall asleep and any later will mean it’s difficult to sleep at night. If you work shifts then choose the time that’s equivalent to midday – furthest in time from your sleeping times.
- How long? This is the crucial ingredient to effective power napping so that you avoid the post nap grogginess. Sleep for no longer than 20 minutes because any longer takes you into deep sleep that’s more difficult to wake from. You want to go from stage 1 sleep to stage 2 and no further. That’s your 20 minute limit.
- Where? Choose your spot carefully. You want somewhere quiet, without disturbances and distractions, and no computers and mobile phones. Also choose your position – not crumpled over your desk as you’ll be stiff when you wake – reclining or lying is fine.
- A cup of coffee? This may seem a bit strange but having a caffeinated drink before your nap means that the caffeine will be getting to work by the time you wake up. Caffeine takes about 45 minutes to get into our system so have a cup before you sleep during the day, but if you have trouble getting to sleep at night, don’t have another until the following morning.