Are you ever tempted to curl up in the middle of your daily chaos, wherever you are, and take a nap? Is that a silly question or what?
Well, rest easy! For a while now science has been giving the nod to nodding off.
I recently read that 100 million Americans self identify as sleep deprived. That’s a lot of folks.
Regular naps can enhance alertness, memory, creativity, concentration, mood and energy. Also, naps decrease the risk of stress-induced hypertension and heart attacks.
Roughly 8 hours after waking everyone has a drop in alertness. For most people who wake between 6 and 8 AM that would be between 2 and 4 PM. Sometimes, rather than ignoring it or turning to a cup of coffee, try to get between 15-20 minutes of sleep. No more than that! You will sink into a deeper sleep which can interfere with your nighttime sleeping.
The reason short naps are rejuvenating is that they ensure you get just the beginning of the slow-wave sleep, which is the most restorative kind. Any more than that and you’ll likely feel groggy.
Trying to nap only on weekends isn’t as effective. It’s hard to play catch up when you’re sleep deprived all week long. A regular nap schedule works better.
If you work outside your home and it’s possible, close your office door so no one will disturb you. I recently spoke with someone who works for Microsoft and he told me that they have lounges with recliners for napping! Remember to set an alarm.
At first, learning to fall asleep at your scheduled nap time may be difficult, even if you’re exhausted. But like many things, napping takes practice. Often deep breathing helps relax you so you can nap. You can use eyeshades, white-noise machines, or whatever turns on that OFF switch.
Napping is still very much a practice for me. Just the other day I decided to take a nap and the alarm went off after ONLY five minutes. Then I started questioning whether or not my alarm was even working properly. I was so nervous about oversleeping that my mind would not let me relax. I got up, had a good laugh and went back to work. OH well, at least I’m still trying to nap!