I’ve been napping all my life, and only until recently, I thought there was nothing to it. Little did I know, I’ve been doing it wrong for the past thirty years. To my surprise, there are ways in which we can nap that really get the most out of the rejuvenating properties, without getting any of the drawbacks. Why this isn’t common knowledge, I don’t know...but I would like to touch on the topic today seeing as how modern day work requires for us to have early mornings and late nights.
With that said, here are a few ways you can optimize your naps throughout the day.
Shorter Naps as Opposed to Longer Ones
Sleep experts recommend that shorter naps, spanning from about 20-30 minutes, are more desirable for the working individual. These shorter naps are said to be more effective in providing the alert benefits shortly following waking, without all of the grogginess we experience when taking longer naps. This is also beneficial considering shorter naps tend to affect our sleep patterns less as opposed to longer naps.
Your Sleep Environment
Sleep environment is also another leading factor in the effectiveness of your naps. This is due to the fact that your sleep environment can directly affect how long it takes you to fall asleep. If your “nap” involves you tossing and turning for the first fifteen minutes, you’re not gaining all of the benefits you would normally with a more sleep-friendly environment. Limiting noise, light (of any kind), and regulating temperature are just a few ways in which you can refine your sleep environment.
Nap Timing and Sleep Pattern
The timing of your nap can affect your regular sleep pattern, which is what we want to avoid when improving our overall restfulness. If you nap too early on, it may be harder for you to fall back asleep...and if you nap too late in the day, it may be harder for you to fall asleep before bedtime. It’s up to you to determine what the best time is to take a nap, but generally speaking, a bit after lunchtime should be a sweet spot depending on your work schedule.
All things considered, having a more mindful approach to your nap schedule can go a long way with improved alertness and productivity in your regular work day. In my personal experience, I have found that by making a few tweaks here and there to my regular nap schedule, I feel more alert and ready to tackle life’s challenges with an upbeat attitude. My goal for 2019 is to improve my overall restfulness and sleep habits, and so far, I’ve been making strides in progress. What kinds of strategies do you use to improve your sleep patterns? Please feel free to let me know!