When you think of someone taking a nap, you probably picture a baby all bundled up and taking a snooze.
Chances are that you do not immediately imagine a responsible and productive adult taking a nap to reset and reach optimal health. In fact, you might even have some negative opinions about grown-ups who nap regularly. Perhaps you think they are ill or have a condition that prevents them from operating at their full potential. Bottom line, napping isn’t always seen in a positive light in our go-go-go culture.
The truth is, naps can be extremely beneficial and our bodies are actually designed to take a little mid-day siesta. So, when you are fighting to keep your eyes open during the usual afternoon slump, consider grabbing a pillow instead of another cup of coffee.
While crawling into bed for the rest of the day sounds divine, a routine of short naps at the right time in the right place is really what you need. Here are a few tips on how to get the best quality nap and still meet your obligations.
Keep It Short When the sleepiness sets in, plan on resting for 15-20 minutes. Anything more than 30 minutes will take you into deep sleep and leave you with the dreaded brain fog. If you don’t nap often, you might have trouble dozing off at first. Keep at it. Your body will adjust to and thank you for the new napping habit!
Find Your Happy Place Nighttime sleep rules apply to naptime as well. Find a dark and quiet place to nap. You might need to improvise in the workplace, so consider putting a sleep mask and some earplugs in your briefcase next time to head to the office. If your workplace does not have a good spot, you might find yourself catching a few z’s in your car and that is just fine.
Make A Plan and Stick to It Use technology to your benefit and schedule your naptime. If your job situation allows, consider blocking off the time on your work calendar. Make it a priority. Making changes to your daily routine can be challenging, but give it a few weeks and you will see a huge difference.
Set A Caffeine Clock An extra cup of coffee might give you a boost to push through a big project deadline, but it will do nothing for your sleep debt. In the long run, excessive and poorly timed caffeine intake can cause much more harm than good. Try to avoid drinking caffeine within four to seven hours of bedtime. Practicing good sleep hygiene practices during the day will improve both nighttime and naptime slumbers.
Have No Shame Chances are you will get some goofy looks when you get all settled in for a mid day snooze. However, when you disappear for 20 minutes and then come back ready to rock the afternoon, your coworkers will want to know your secret. Naps are good for you and there is no shame in taking care of yourself. It is neither selfish nor irresponsible.
Stay tuned for our next blog post to find out just how good it is for you.