4 [Easy] Actionable Tips To Improve Your Naps
1. Set a time limit (30 minutes max)
Since sleep is a normal human function, there is nothing wrong with taking naps. In fact, they are often helpful. Naps can help you be more motivated during the day.
But overly extended naps can put you at risk of nasty things:
On the other hand, taking short naps can have some great benefits:
- Sharper focus
- Reduced fatigue
- Improved mood
The most important thing you need to do if you want to achieve a successful nap, is this:
Set a time limit.
But how on earth can you know if you’ve crossed the limit? How long is too long?
Let me tell you that if you are feeling tired throughout the day, it’s for a reason — you have some sleeping debt to pay. If you don’t want to feel like that, you need to understand your body’s biological clock — and create healthy habits around it.
In this article, I’ll explain to you what makes a successful nap and why so many people fail to get the best out of them.
30 Minutes Max
The next time you go take a nap, aim for 10, 20, or 30 minutes of shut-eye if you want to feel refreshed. Anything above that can make you feel groggy — yuck. But if you feel like you are going to sleep longer than 30 minutes, then aim for 90 minutes. This gives you enough time to complete all the REM sleep stages, and you won’t feel as groggy or disoriented as when you take a 45-minute nap.
In case you didn’t know, there are several types of naps:
- Power naps. These naps stimulate your energy levels, hence the name. The usual turnaround of them is about 15 minutes. Interesting fact is that research shows that if you take a power nap right after studying, you retain more information. So next time your teacher catches you napping, show him this article and tell him you are working hard — I got your back.
- Recovery naps. These naps are the ones mostly everyone do. They help pay that sleeping debt you had the night before if you stayed up late texting your toxic girlfriend. A recovery nap can compensate for the sleep loss and make you feel as fresh as a lettuce.
- Snooze sessions. These sessions are around 20 to 30 minutes. Sound familiar? Well, it’s because they are like a power nap. The difference is that they help you recharge if you are just too tired to function —especially if your job requires you to be alert.
- Essential naps. These naps are when you fall sick and your body needs to rest. Naps aren’t optional in this case. They are essential — hence the name — for your recovery because they can boost your immune system response.
Choose which naps best suits your needs. There are naps that are just for the sake of enjoying sleep. If anyone of these grabs your attention, go ahead and take your siesta! Just hide your wallet before you hop into the hammock.
No Zzz’s After 3:00 PM
You need to consider the time of the day is if you want to reap its benefits. For most people, around 12:30 PM right before taking their lunch is the best time. For others, is after the post-lunch dip around 2:00 PM.
This will be different for everyone. The rule of thumb is to not take late on the day so you don’t end up staring at your ceiling during the night. Experts suggest anything above 3:00 PM can interfere with your night sleep. But, each person is unique. You need to become your own expert because you know your body better than anyone else. Make a sleeping log to see what time of the day works best for you.
To give you an idea, many seek out opportunities during their workday to get a few winks in. They use places like the restroom, the car, the office, or wherever they feel comfortable to get some rest. As long as it’s comfortable to you, you are good to go.
Create The Best Environment
According to experts of the sleep foundation, you can take control of the quality of your naps by creating a sleep-friendly environment to help you fall asleep faster.
Researchers suggest the following tips to create the perfect environment.
- Adjust the temperature. Higher temperatures make you feel alert, while lower ones make you feel sleepy. Experts agree that for most people the ideal room temperature is around 65 degrees Celsius. If you are not comfortable try adjusting the thermostat or add another blanket to your bed.
- Block the noise. Noise disturbances can be bad for your mental and physical health. Make your room as quiet as possible or use earplugs, headphones, white noise, and relaxing music to block outside noise. Ambient sounds are known to have relaxing powers if you have anxiety.
- Make it dark. Our bodies produce a hormone called melatonin when the mind perceives it’s getting dark. Make it a habit to dim your room lights to fall asleep faster.
- Keep your bed fresh. People feel more relaxed when they know their sheets are clean. A poll taken in 2012, states that people are “more excited to go to bed and/or that they get a more comfortable night’s sleep on sheets with a fresh scent”. It’s recommended to wash your bed sheets at least once every two weeks
- Make a routine. Creating a bedtime routine can you teach your brain when it’s time to sleep. Start doing things that are relaxing at least 30 minutes before bed. The more you practice it the faster you’ll fall asleep.
- Ditch electronics. According to research, it’s a great idea to ditch your cellphone, TV, or computer at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.
In essence, anything that floats your boat will work as long as makes you feel comfortable and sleepy. You are the boss when it comes to knowing what makes you comfy. If you are at loss, try applying the tips above to give yourself a head start in the mastery of naps.
What Not To Do
It’s important to know that your brain is either awake and alert during the day or sleeping and cleaning during the night. Many do not know this and fail to have a successful nap because they don’t understand how the brain works.
For your brain to be in the cleaning stage, it needs more than 30 minutes of sleep. If you wake up during this stage, you’ll feel groggy — yuck. If you wake up before that, you’ll feel energized — yay!. As a rule of thumb, don’t nap more than 30 minutes.
Also, don’t try to force your naps. Let your body tell you when it’s time to rest. Unless your body asks you to sleep very late on the day, hold it. Hold it out until it’s your bedtime. It’s better to use that extra energy to make it through your daily tasks.
All You Need To Know
Know that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to get rid of your sleeping debt. Doing it right can give you a boost towards a more productive and happy in life.
Keep these 4 things in mind to have success!
- Set a time limit (30 minutes max)
- Don’t nap later than 3:00 PM
- Create the best environment
- Don’t force yourself