When you were a child, nap time probably made you howl in protest. Now that you’re an adult, you’d likely give anything to recapture that blessed quiet time each afternoon!
Fortunately, more people are awakening to the knowledge that proper rest supercharges your productivity for the rest of the day. However, as with most things, you can overdo a good thing. Here are six napping do’s and don’ts for your best daytime slumber and tips for making it an even more integral part of your daily self-care routine.
Let’s begin with the basics. Naps can help you do everything from improving your memory to climbing the corporate ladder. However, you can’t sleep your way to the top by staying in bed all day. Here’s what you should do.
1. Keep It Short And Sweet
Laying down for too long in the afternoon can result in nighttime restlessness. Then, you toss and turn until the wee hours until you finally slip under, only to feel exhausted when your alarm sounds.
For best results, you should keep your naps to no longer than 90 minutes if you’re an athlete. Mere mortals might want to keep their slumber shorter, more like 20 to 30 minutes. You should have just enough time to fall under and go through one sleep cycle — not several.
If you want a social media break, why not set an app timer on your phone and scroll at your desk? Lying down with your device in hand probably won’t result in you catching any Zs.
The blue light from electronic devices can interfere with melatonin production, a vital sleep hormone. If you want to make naptime productive, leave your phone in another room. The same goes for your tablet.
3. Set The Right Temperature
If you nap at the office — more workplaces allow this behavior — you might have little say in the thermostat. In that case, you can rely on a fan or a warm blanket to set the mood, depending on whether you run hot or cold.
If you are one of the many telecommuters now that the pandemic made the working arrangement more mainstream, you can dial down the digits to induce a restful state. Most experts recommend a room set at approximately 65 F for slumber.
You might be thinking, “How can you mess up a nap?” However, the wrong techniques can throw your sleep cycle out of whack. Here’s what to avoid.
1. Interrupting Your Nightly Sleep Cycle
Unless you are a hardcore athlete, you should probably limit daytime sleep to no longer than 30 minutes. Any more poses the risk of interrupting your nighttime sleep patterns.
Should you move back your regular bedtime to accommodate your nap? It depends. Sometimes, excess fatigue may drive you to bed at the usual hour. Occasionally, you might need a little longer to fall under — hence, another reason for keeping your day sleeping shorter.
Longer naps pose the risk of sleep inertia. You recognize this feeling when you wake up from an overly long nap feeling like Rip Van Winkle — what time is it? What year is it? Where are all your friends? It’s disorienting and not conducive to good sleep hygiene.
2. Ignoring Excessive Daytime Sleep
Excessive daytime sleepiness can signify an underlying physical or mental health disorder. For example, those with narcolepsy may find themselves growing uncontrollably sleepy during the day. People with depression often sleep too much or too little. If you find yourself dozing for hours, book an appointment with your doctor.
3. Avoiding Your Other Responsibilities
Another sign of depression is avoiding your other responsibilities. Unfortunately, doing so can shatter your self-esteem, creating a vicious cycle of feelings of inadequacy followed by more despair. Talk to your doctor or a competent mental health provider if you notice this symptom.
Suggestions For Enhancing Your Naps
How can you make a good nap even better? Try some of these tips:
- Provide just enough comfort -You don’t necessarily want to climb into bed for your snooze. Pulling the covers over your head can invite all-day languishing. Instead, get just cozy enough to fall under, perhaps with a single thin blanket or a folded handkerchief over your eyes.
- Add a little fragrance – Aromatherapy can help ease you into dreamland. Lavender and chamomile are two classic scents to try — you can also pair them with a cup of tea containing the same herbs.
- Try a guided meditation – Sometimes, you need to adjust your mindset midday. YouTube is a rich treasure trove of guided meditations — try doing one when you lie down for your nap.
- Sleep on the job – More employers recognize the productivity-boosting power of naps. If your workplace provides pods for this purpose, consider taking one of them for a spin.
Follow A Few Simple Napping Do’s And Don’ts For Your Best Nap Ever
If you want your best nap ever, try the tips above. Once you know the do’s and don’ts, you can enjoy a more productive nap time experience.