Going back to work after the weekend is a difficult task for many. You remain tired, and you want to sleep in, and when you go to work, you find yourself yawning away and craving a cup of coffee. But wait before you head for the coffee machine. Have you considered taking a nap?
We all know the benefits of sleep. As Shakespeare rightly said, it is the season of all natures. There’s nothing that a little sleep cannot heal. But modern lifestyle has deprived people of the blissful luxuries of a good night’s sleep. Most people tend to burn the candle on both ends; they hit the bed late and wake up early for work. As a result, a large section of the urban population go about like zombies, sleep deprived, fatigued and stressed. Excess consumption of caffeine to ward off sleep does more harm than good.
The benefits of taking a midday nap are not only scientifically proven, but have also been realized by several companies around the world. So much so, that a lot of organizations now give employees a mid-day break of 30 minutes for a quick nap. It has been found to be effective in boosting energy, productivity, and cognitive functioning in employees.
But remember that a nap isn’t full-fledged sleep. You cannot lie down with the intention of taking a nap and end up sleeping for six hours. Taking a nap at specific times in the day and for only certain lengths of time can help you to optimize your snooze and ensure you wake up feeling rested and energized.
Here are a few rules for getting the most out of nap times:
Don’t nap if you have insomnia
Sleep deprivation is different from a sleep disorder. If you are sleep deprived, then a nap in the afternoon can greatly benefit you. But if you suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia, then a nap can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Avoiding naps is best when you are an insomniac because it helps you fall asleep more easily at night.
Nap no more than 30 minutes
Have you ever woken up from a nap feeling worse? It happens when going into deep sleep when you’re only supposed to nap. That’s why naps should generally last no more than 30 minutes. It’s just the right length to nap without the risk of entering deep sleep finding it hard to wake up. A 30-minute power nap helps those who didn’t get enough sleep at night feel refreshed.
Take a longer nap if you have time
A full cycle nap is roughly about 90 minutes. So if you have time, taking a 90-minute nap is helpful in beating fatigue. An average sleep cycle is of 90 minutes, so if you nap for that long, you will enter REM sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed.
Spend time outdoors
If you’re sleepy between one and three in the afternoon, what works even better than a nap is some time out in the sun. This is because it’s during late afternoons that the core body temperature drops and the body produces more melatonin. Being out in the sun prevents melatonin production and restores energy. Napping during late afternoons can also prevent a person from falling asleep at night.
Don’t nap past 4 pm
If you nap after 4 in the evening, it gets harder to fall asleep at night. Your body usually needs a nap between noon and 4 pm. After that, it must get ready for nighttime sleep. The more tired you are, the better your chances of falling asleep at night.
Naps can be of great help for everyone. Keep these rules in mind to make the most of your naps.