You probably know by now how important it is to take a nap, as doing so will make you return to your day at approximately 54 percent more alert. If you are keen about having an energising nap, here is how to go about it.
Take a ‘caffeine nap’
While this may sound counter-intuitive, sipping coffee right before a nap may be the perfect aid for optimal alertness, according to Japanese research. Since caffeine takes 20 to 30 minutes to take full effect, you’ll feel even more awake after your 20-minute rest.
Find a quiet, dark place to lie down
Researchers say it takes about 50 percent longer to fall asleep sitting up than lying down. That’s why we sleep so poorly on planes, cars and trains!
Pick a dark, cozy place that’s not too warm or too chilly. Some experts recommend napping on the couch instead of in bed, so you’re less tempted to snooze for too long.
A Swiss study found that people fell asleep faster and had deeper sleep when they napped in a hammock than in a bed. That same rocking motion that lulls babies to sleep works wonders for grown-ups too. Enlist the help of a sleep mask to eliminate light and help you sleep even better.
Limit the length of your snooze
Sleep experts have found that the length of your nap has a huge effect on how alert you feel afterward. It all has to do with sleep cycles.
A quick power nap should last between 10 and 26 minutes. An hour-long nap will trigger rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which helps improve memory, and a 90-minutes snooze will get you through a full sleep cycle, which can boost creativity and emotional memory.
Beware of sleeping for longer than 90 minutes; or you’ll enter a new sleep cycle and won’t get any additional benefits. More so, you could negatively affect your nighttime sleep.
Align the time of your nap with the time you woke up
For most people, the best time to nap is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. But if you subscribe to an unusual sleep schedule (such as early mornings or late nights), it’s best to align the time of your nap to the time you woke up.
All you have to do is enter the time you woke up. The wheel will output your ideal naptime for that day (for example, if you woke up at 5 a.m., nap at 1 p.m.; for 6 a.m., nap at 1:30 p.m.; for 7 a.m., try 2 p.m.; for 8 a.m., try 2:30 p.m.).
Stick to a specific schedule
For new parents, getting a baby to adhere to a regular nap schedule is vital. The same thing is applicable for adults. Taking an afternoon nap at the same time each day helps mesh the extra sleep into your circadian rhythm. Your body will begin to recognize when naptime is approaching, and you’ll find it easier to nod off faster.