3 Tips for a Peaceful Nap

Waht hapnnes wehn you dno’t nap?

You read the sentence above. Understand it too. But maybe, you don’t notice the words are all jumbled up. Ah, you’re reading it again, now!

Maybe, had you taken a nap, you would have perhaps noticed those jumbled words right away and had a good laugh over them too.

A nap can improve your focus, alertness, and mood. And while not getting enough sleep at night weakens your immunity, taking a couple of short naps the next day can make it strong again. Heart doctors also have a good word to put in about the afternoon nap. A recent study found that those who napped once or twice a week had a 48% lower risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure, than those who did not nap at all.[ref]Häusler, Nadine, Jose Haba-Rubio, Raphael Heinzer, and Pedro Marques-Vidal. “Association of napping with incident cardiovascular events in a prospective cohort study.” Heart 105, no. 23 (2019): 1793-1798.[/ref]

Here’s how you get your siesta right.

1. No Later Than 4 o’Clock

The later you take a nap, the more likely you are to mess up your night sleep. That in turn will make you sleepy in the daytime the next day. Avoid this vicious cycle. Schedule your nap between 1 and 1:30 pm.

2. No More Than 30 Mins

The ideal nap is about 20 minutes long. That’s enough to freshen up your senses without making you feel groggy. Grogginess or sleep inertia is what happens when you wake up in the middle of deep sleep. Beyond 30 minutes, you could enter the deep sleep phase.

Now, if you are really tired and need more sleep than that, aim for a full cycle of about 90 minutes. Sleep with a sleep tracking alarm clock that can wake you up once the deep sleep phase ends.

3. No Light, No Noise

You have only 20 minutes to charge yourself up. Don’t let distractions cut into this time. Find a dark place. It could be your darkened bedroom if you are at home. If you’re at work and have no dark place to crawl into, stretch yourself out on your chair – as horizontal as you can – and use an eyepatch. To keep out noise, use earplugs. You may think you are too sleepy to be bothered by the noise, but it can disturb your sleep. Keep a light stole handy. Put your phone on silent and drift off.

On some days, you could skip the nap and take a short stroll instead. Or sleep for 20 minutes and then stroll about for the next 10.