There are few things in life more blissful than an afternoon nap, especially when your body needs the extra rest. Unfortunately, this is more easily dreamed about than accomplished.
Sneaking in a nap at work is not usually practical. The boss could walk by at any minute, your coworkers could catch you snoring—or you could drool on important documents.
And sleeping at home with the kids around usually results in disaster. Toys (or worse) strewn all over the house, toddlers sitting on your face, the dog licking... everything.
However, napping is both achievable and beneficial if you do it right. The following tips will help you learn how to power nap effectively and get a boost of brainpower in the middle of the day.
What is a Power Nap?
When we sleep, our bodies cycle from light sleep to deep sleep and REM sleep. A power nap is not meant to replace the sleep we get at night, but to supplement it and give us a quick recharge. When napping, limit the time to between 10 and 30 minutes. This will allow you to benefit from a light sleep without the grogginess associated with waking during deep sleep.
When Should I Take a Nap?
If you push your body throughout the day and only nap when you just can’t fight the crash, you will likely sleep longer and more deeply. This leads to disrupted nighttime sleep cycles and daytime crankiness, sluggishness, and lack of concentration.
A regular or planned power nap, on the other hand, can provide cognitive and restorative benefits without making it more difficult to sleep at night.
Choose a time when you can step away from responsibilities, and if possible, a time when you would typically be approaching a slump in energy or focus. For example, try power napping during your scheduled break time at work or your toddler’s afternoon nap. Also, to avoid interfering with nighttime sleep, don’t nap after 3:00 pm.
How to Power Nap More Effectively
If you are not used to napping, you may be wondering how you will fall asleep on command. Keep in mind that you may not always sleep, especially if you have been getting consistent and adequate sleep at night. If you are one of these mystical, well-rested superhumans, or are simply having trouble relaxing, try using this time for restorative meditation. Otherwise, follow the steps below to help your body sleep at the designated time.
Where to Nap
Find a setting that is suitable for relaxing. If you will be napping at work, consider your surroundings and the amount of time you have during your break. Your car will provide privacy, or you may be able to sleep at (or under) your desk if your boss approves. If there are coworkers who might interrupt you during this time, let them know you are going on break and when you will be available again. Ask them not to wake you unless absolutely necessary. Also, remember to set an alarm or have someone wake you when your break time is over. Offer to do the same for them in return.
For napping at home, you’ll have to consider your family’s schedule as well as your own. If possible, nap when the kids are napping or at school. Resist the temptation to use this time for housework and give yourself permission to rest. You’ll feel better and be able to accomplish more during the rest of the day if you listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Prepare a Space for Napping
The space you choose to nap in should be comfortable and free from distractions. At work, you can wear noise-canceling headphones to help drown out ambient noise. At home, try to create a setup where you know your kids will be safe if they wake up before you.
Depending on their age, mobility, and responsibility level, that may mean putting them in a bassinet or playpen near your bed or the couch. It may mean having a baby monitor nearby. Or it may mean bringing them into your bedroom with a few toys and closing the door so they can’t go anywhere else.
Comfort is Key
The final and arguably most important tool for the perfect power nap is comfort. Wrap up in something luxurious, soft, and cozy for ultimate relaxation. Sew Sweet Minky Designs has handmade blankets perfect for a midday respite. Curl up under your desk or cuddle with your kids in an extra-long, super snuggly minky.Check out Sew Sweet Minky Designs to find your new favorite sleep accessory and start learning how to power nap like a pro.