Dreaming of catching some Z’s? 5 ways to take the BEST nap.

Sleep is so important… yet, as a busy twenty-something, it’s so hard to lay down in bed and actually let myself get any sleep. Restless nights are inevitable for me. But something that has always been a guilty pleasure of mine is napping. And as it turns out, napping might not be something to feel guilty about after all. Studies show POSITIVE RESULTS FROM NAPPING. It’s like a dream come true…

I know what you’re thinking, “okay, NAP TIME!” But first, let me tell you the details on how to take the most effective nap.

  1. Timing is everything: This is so important because studies show that if you wake up too late or too early, you will have a “sleep hangover.” You know the feeling of being groggy when you wake up? And you feel even more tired than when you originally fell asleep? That’s seriously the worst…The perfect amount of sleep is 20 minutes or 90 minutes. This is because your body hits a deep sleep between 30 – 60 minutes and if you wake up during that time you will feel those groggy effects from the nap. If you wake up at 20 minutes you will simply feel refreshed but not totally rested. If you are able to sleep the full 90 minutes you will wake up feeling well rested and filled with energy. So, set that alarm for 90 minutes before you hit the hay.
  2. Drink a cup of coffee before you nap: I realize this one is a little odd… but it makes sense. Coffee takes about 10-20 minutes to kick in, which means if you drink a cup of coffee before you take your quick 20-minute nap, you will be waking up right as the caffeine begins to kick in. This means that you will wake up feeling energized and ready to go from both your nap and the caffeine, double whammy!
  3. Buy earplugs and an eye mask: If you’re going to nap, you gotta do it right! You want to maximize the amount of time you’re actually asleep and minimize the time that you’re laying there trying to fall asleep. If you buy earplugs and an eye mask, you will have a better chance of falling asleep immediately and then being able to wake up and continue having a productive day.
  4. Don’t nap too late in the day: If you’re super sleepy and it is 5 o’clock in the afternoon, you may want to reconsider your napping idea and just wait for bed time. You don’t want a nap to interfere with your much-needed nighttime sleep.
  5. If you’re going to nap, try to nap at the same time daily: if you think a daily nap is necessary for you, the best thing you can do is to plan it out for the same time every day. If you nap every day at the same time, your body will become used to the circadian rhythms which will maximize the effects of your nap. If you’re going to nap, DO IT RIGHT.

Okay NOW it is nap time. Go get your eye mask and earplugs and don’t forget your cup of coffee!

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