We Tested Popular Theories About Napping. Here’s How To Achieve The Perfect Nap
Naps help keep us healthy (and from nodding off at our workstation). Unfortunately, it isn’t for everyone. Learning how to take one takes practice.
Now, more than ever, naps are often necessary. After all, there’s only so much you can do in one day. Embrace more shut eye (or in this case, let it embrace you) and take full advantage of any opportunity to lie down, relax and recharge.
Immersing yourself in a nap-friendly environment is essential to lulling yourself to sleep. It could be the sound of crashing waves from an app you downloaded on your phone. It could be your favorite spot on an uber-comfy couch. Or maybe some aromatherapy?
Companies both big and small have started allowing and even promoting naps in the workplace. Google has even taken it a step further (no surprise here), offering employees relaxation pods fully equipped with soothing music and light shows.
Did you know?
There is actually a napping competition called the National Siesta Championship held in Madrid every year where the winner can take home a cash prize.
Naps help keep us healthy (and from nodding off at our workstation). Unfortunately, it isn’t for everyone. Learning how to take one takes practice. But fret not, these tips, tools, and advice will make you a nap-happy person in no time.
What Are The Best Nap Techniques?
Studies have shown that a power nap can help to boost productivity, creativity, alertness and overall mood. It’s real. And it’s probably why big companies such as Nike, Huffington Post and Continental have started allowing and even promoting naps in the workplace. Google has even taken it a step further (no surprise here), offering employees relaxation pods fully equipped with soothing music and light shows. Yeesh, must be nice. Seriously though, the volume of research supporting naps continues to build, and more organizations are advocating for them. It’s not a stretch to say they could become a part of your everyday.
The number one reason our bodies nudge us for naps is due to a lack of sleep at night. Duh! While the recommended number of hours varies from human to human, the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours. However, according to the CDC, approximately one in three adults don’t reach this nightly minimum. Yeah… we need to step up our sleep game. However, a midday slumber is no longer considered a luxury. It’s becoming a necessity.
Put A 30-Minute Time Limit On Your Nap
Power naps should generally be brief. Think around 20-30 minutes. This window of time allows you to rest without the risk of entering into a deep slumber, which can be hard to wake up from. You’ll enter the first two stages of sleep where your brain waves and heart rate begin to slow down. However, anything longer than 30 minutes and you may enter the third stage, also known as REM sleep, where dreams occur. If you do, you may wake up feeling even more groggy and disoriented than before. Unless you’re done with work and other responsibilities for the day, this will make getting back to the grind a real chore.
Condition Your Brain For Napping
It’s also a good idea to initiate a sensorial environment tailored for immediate napping. For example, maybe it’s a particular blanket that you use each time, like the Bearaby Napper. Or perhaps it’s the sound of crashing waves from an app you downloaded on your phone. The idea here is that once you feel or hear a particular sensation, your body will automatically think SLEEP.
Don’t Stress Failing To Fall Asleep For A Nap
If your mind is racing, you’re feeling fidgety and you just can’t seem to enter dreamland, don’t fret. Instead, relax and just enjoy the fact that you’re resting instead of running around. Even the act of closing your eyes for 30 minutes, without falling asleep, can still be hugely restorative.
Put To Bed Nap Guilt
Napping isn’t only natural, but it’s extremely restoring and rejuvenating. So, don't guilt yourself out of taking one because you’re preoccupied with the endless to-do’s that must get done or because you’re concerned about peer perception. Now, more than ever, naps are often necessary. After all, there’s only so much you can do in one day. Embrace more shut eye (or in this case, let it embrace you) and take full advantage of any opportunity to lie down, relax and recharge.
Finally, if at first you don’t succeed, lie down, turn off, shut your eyes, and repeat. Don’t call it quits after a “failed” nap. You’re a better napper than you think. It may take some time and a little bit of experimentation, but as with any skill, keep at it and you’ll be an expert napper in no time