Ready to take a nap? Make sure you know how to nap properly.
There is no debating that naps are glorious. They can revitalize you, boost energy and productivity and set you on the right foot for the day. But did you know that there’s a right and wrong way to nap properly? Follow these tips to make the most out of your naps and to help ensure you’re refreshed and ready for anything.
Nap short or long. But not in between.
You know that feeling you get when you wake up from a nap all groggy and foggy and it feels like you didn’t sleep at all? That happens when the length of your nap isn’t just right. Going to lie down for an hour seems like a good idea – but it’s actually what causes that knocked-out, exhausted feeling after your nap. Aim for a short 20-30-minute nap or a 90-minute nap (a full sleep cycle).
The short nap: 20-30 minutes
A short nap of around 20-30 minutes means you’re not getting into a deep REM sleep, but it can still make a drastic difference in your alertness and concentration. It has a great effect on your mood as well. Even just a super-short power nap of about 10 minutes can still have some benefits if you’re feeling sleep-deprived.
The long nap: A full sleep cycle
If you really need to supplement your nighttime sleep because you’re not getting enough, try to make time for a 90-minute nap. The average person’s sleep cycle is 90-minutes long, so this allows you to enter into REM sleep and get the rest you really need when you’re sleep deprived.
Decide if you actually need a nap
A lot of us get that sleepy, lack-of-energy feeling in the afternoon, usually between 1-3pm. Sometimes you just need a healthy snack for a boost of energy. And sometimes taking a walk outside in the sun will be the energy-boost you need. Before you run for your bed, try to determine if you’re really sleep-deprived or if you just need a little pick-me-up.
Avoid napping after 4pm
The later in the afternoon you start your nap, the harder it will be for you to fall asleep at bedtime. Aim to keep your naps well before 4pm and you should be just fine.
Naps can be key to feeling alert and maintaining a healthy life. Just try to remember to follow these tips when you take your nap and you’ll be well on your way to a refreshed and energized day. Any tips on how you maximize your naps? We’d love to know!
Alanna McGinn is a Certified Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips, subscribe to our newsletter and visit Good Night Sleep Site.