Happy National Sleep Awareness Week! How about using this week to fine-tune your napping skills?
You might be someone who would never dream about closing your eyes in the middle of the day. Naps are only for people who are:
Right? Wrong. We say seizing a siesta is a form of self-care we could all use — er, deserve — right now. A good power nap ranks right up in the “restorative” category and it’s one reason companies like Google and NASA encourage their employees to make naps part of their daily schedules. It’s also why lots of countries like Greece, the Philippines, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain weave them into the usual routine too.
How can a nap be restorative and boost productivity? I always wake up groggy.
There’s a reason for that. Here we walk the fine line that separates successful nappers from failed ones.
Here’s How to Set Yourself Up For an Epic Nap
Something as basic as a quick snooze shouldn’t require a lot of preplanning, but as with all things in life, being strategic really pays off when it comes to naps.
Fail to plan a nap and you’ll fail to take one. In other words, make it part of your day before your day gets away from you. Experts say the best time to take a nap is between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Too late in the day (or too close to bedtime) might mess with your sleep later that night.
Don’t feel pressured
You might not fall asleep every time, but that’s okay. Just the act of closing your eyes, relaxing and taking a break from the day is valuable and refreshing.
Set a timer
One reason people feel groggy, disoriented or zombie-like after a nap (known as “sleep inertia”) is that they slept too long and woke up in the middle of a deep sleep cycle. That fuzz in your brain is its way of telling you it wants to complete that sleep cycle. Expert opinion is to limit naps to anywhere from a short 10 minutes to a max of 30 so you don’t fall into that cavernous place of heavy sleep.
Set the Scene
You don’t need to make a whole production of it but think about things you might do at night to prepare yourself for sleep and incorporate some or all into your naptime.
What we mean: Eyeshades to block out light. Earplugs to block out noise. A cool and comfortable temperature to bring on sleep. And remember: turn off your phone and warn others to stay out. (That may sound obvious but in the middle of the day, who thinks twice about disturbing you, anyway?)
Many people down some caffeine to help them power through the day, but you can actually turbo-charge your nap by drinking coffee and then closing your eyes. It’s called a “caffeine nap.” Huh? Since caffeine’s effects take about 20 minutes to set in, the energy spike will strike about the time you’re ready to wake up.
Quiet Your Mind
Yeah, we know. it can be tough to shut down your brain, especially in the middle of the day when you have a lot of stuff going on. Apps like Calm or Headspace offer sleep meditations that can help. Or take things into your own hands and calm your mind the low-tech way with some deep, rhythmic breathing.
Still can’t nap?
If you feel that a nap is not your thing, don’t sweat it. Some of us are just not meant to be nappers. If a nap makes you feel worse rather than better or it interferes with your sleep that night, then scrap the nap.
Instead, consider these suggestions to perk up: Get up and move. Splash some cold water on your face. Take yourself out for a quick, brisk walk. Indulge in a brief stretch session. Down a cold glass of water (or two…then all the trips to the bathroom will keep you alert!)
Let us know how you’re making time for naps — and we’ll compare notes!
We can’t tell what Lena Dunham is covering her eyes and mouth with, but we support her urge to nap! Shhhh.
For a Pause
If you wake up from your nap with flat nap-hair, a quick session with this Chi Volumizer brush is in order. It will make people think you ran out to the salon, rather than snuck in a snooze.
What do Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali and Bill Clinton have in common? Take one guess.
When we return to the office, when we travel again, here are some handy travel-sized pillows so we don’t have to give up our precious naps.
One More Thing
Even goddesses know when it’s nap time.
Until next week, stay well. Stay healthy. Stay safe.
See you next time!
Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah
I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
— Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay, Otis Redding
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