Napping is one of the most under-utilized energy increasing tips. In fact I am coming to believe that the answer to many questions or challenges in life is the humble nap.
Feeling sluggish in the afternoon?
Stuck on a project?
Feeling run down?
Had an argument with your loved one?
And the list goes on.
However, there is an art and a science to napping, and by following these few simple recommendations, you can ensure that your afternoon shut-eye leaves you feel refreshed and rested, rather than groggy and grumpy.
Keep it short
The ideal nap time is around about 20 minutes, so make sure you set a gentle alarm, and get up after 20 minutes – no matter if you’ve fallen asleep fully or not.
If you sleep much longer than the recommended dose of 20 minutes, your body starts to enter into a deeper stage of sleep, and then when you wake up you’re likely to experience “sleep inertia” – feeling groggy and potentially even more tired than when you first laid down.
Keep it early(ish)
While an after lunch nap is great, make sure you don’t nap too late in the afternoon, as it may interfere with that nights sleep. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, make sure you don’t nap later than 3pm.
Focus on ‘resting’ rather than ‘sleeping’
If you have a hard time falling asleep (i.e., when you close your eyes, your thoughts start wandering and going over your ever-growing to-do list), try guided meditation. I have a power nap guided meditation on youtube, which includes a background music with binuaral beats and a recently released power nap available to stream on Spotify.
Binaural beats work by using two different tones of different frequencies, sent simultaneously to the left and right ears (must be using headphones) – and the brain perceives a third tone based on the mathematical difference between the two frequency. This way binaural beats can help induce states of relaxation quickly.
Cover your eyes
Using something to cover your eyes can block out light and initiate deep relaxation efficiently. I love using these eye masks, but a spare tee-shirt or scarf works well also.
Give yourself permission
“I don’t have the time”
“I think napping = laziness”
Napping can improve your mood, your productivity, increase your alertness, improve your memory, increase your creativity, and basically reset your whole system. So the benefits are immense, and make you a better employee, boss, partner, friend, parent…. so let any feelings of guilt go, and overcome the stigma that napping is synomonous with “lazy”.
If you still aren’t convinced, these highly successful and influential people were (are) known nappers:
- Albert Einstein
- Leonardo Di Vinci
- Emmy Rossum
- Winston Churchill
- Salvador Dali
- John F Kennedy
- Thomas Edison
- Charlie Rose
- Ronal Reagan
- Margaret Thatcher
- Bill Clinton
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Jogi Berra
Now go get yourself horizontal. Happy napping.
Cassandra is a meditation teacher and sleep coach, who is on a mission to help people transform there relationship with sleep and spread the wonders of napping. You can buy her album of guided meditations for sleep, Ease Into Sleep, here, or stream online at Spotify.