Power napping is a great way to recharge your body and mind, and if you are lucky enough to have the time and opportunity to doze off, make sure you are getting the most out of your power nap. Whether you are a sleep deprived stay-at-home mom, or your commute to work is cutting into your hours in bed, here are some tips that will help you reap the most benefits possible out of a power nap. From creating a regular nap schedule, to napping in the optimal environment, follow these tips to power nap like a pro!
The Benefits of Power Napping
To truly get the most out of a power nap, it is important to understand all of the benefits of catching some extra ZZZs. You may be surprised to learn just how valuable a power nap can be for your overall health and wellness. According to Sara C. Mednick, PhD., a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, a 15 to 20 minute nap actually provides amazing benefits for the mind and body. Mednick’s research has shown that a power nap acts like a reset button; nappers wake with increased energy and alertness. Who couldn’t use that?
Interestingly the length of your siesta can determine the exact benefits you are gaining. Feeling sluggish? Sleep for 20 minutes and you will boost your energy and motor performance. A nap consisting of 30 minutes improves decision making ability and sleeping for 60 minutes or longer can enhance the brain’s ability to be creative. Just be cautious not to doze off for too long! It has been found that a nap lasting longer than 90 minutes will likely leave you feeling groggy upon waking.
Now that you know the various benefits of napping, and depending on your schedule, pick the right nap length for your desirable outcome. Remember that a short nap is better than not napping at all! Power napping in general, regardless of the duration, can lead to decreases in stress and improvements to your overall health and wellness. Basically, napping isn’t just for babies!
Tip One: Create a Regular Napping Schedule
The body responds well to a schedule, and naptime is no exception. You probably eat lunch around the same day each day, and try to get to bed at roughly the same hour each night. Likewise, make a power nap a part of your daily schedule. As it so happens, the best time during the day to snooze is between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. If your schedule allows, try to nap during this optimal window each day. Catching a nap too much later than 3:00 in the afternoon may result in nighttime sleep disruption or difficulty, which will negate the benefits of your power nap. Another favorable time during the day to nod off is the late morning if the afternoon does not work for you.
Tip Two: Keep Naptime Brief
The longer you nap, the more likely it is that you will wake up fighting off feelings of drowsiness. A productive power nap of around 20 to 30 minutes yields the most benefits including increased concentration and energy. Try to limit your power nap to no longer than 90 minutes. To make sure you do not overnap. Set an alarm if you need to. Try to get the same amount of shuteye each time you power nap.
Tip Three: Create the Ultimate Napping Environment
Creating an optimal napping environment will allow you to get the most out of your nap, mainly because you will fall asleep more quickly and sleep more comfortably. The goal should be to minimize distractions, and get cozy quickly. A dark room will be the best place to power nap, but if this is not possible during the day, you can try wearing an eye mask to block out light. You may also wish to wear earplugs to reduce any noise distractions. A warm blanket and a pillow will also aid in your comfort while you rest. Are you getting sleepy yet?