Slowly and sweetly dozing off into la la land for a few blissful moments is one of life’s greatest and simplest pleasures. Napping offers a natural boost of energy without the commitment of a laying your head to rest for a full eight-hour sleep cycle. If you are one of the many people around the globe that exercise naps regularly, here are a few things to consider:
Not too little, not too much
Think of yourself as a modern day goldilocks of napping, on the quest to find the nap length that is just right. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal length of a nap is between 10-30 minutes. Anything longer allows you to fall into a deeper sleep and can leave you feeling groggy, while anything shorter doesn’t successfully recharge your batteries.
There’s a reason you are drowsy after lunch
Early afternoon is prime napping time. It is crucial to schedule your napping at a time that won’t effect your nightly sleep routine, and for most people this would be right after lunch (between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.). This is also the period of time that most people experience lows in daily energy levels.
Forget the sheep
Creating a peaceful environment and allowing both your body and mind to unwind is essential to effective snoozing. This doesn’t necessarily mean counting sheep, it’s all about finding the best recipe for you. Some people daydream of faraway islands and beaches, while others repeat relaxing mantras.
The benefits of napping are many and varied. It can increase and extend levels of alertness and focus. Napping has also been linked to aiding people that suffer from an assortment of sleep disorders, including narcolepsy.
On the other hand, napping isn’t all rainbows and butterflies; like anything else, there are pros and cons. Some of the cons that can be associated with napping, especially over 30 minutes, include sleep inertia (the feeling of grogginess upon awakening). Consequently, if you sleep too much during your nap, this may effect the quality of your sleep at night. If you are already having problems sleeping throughout the night, napping may not be right for you.
Regardless of your sleep style, napping can come in handy from time to time. Much like other relaxation practices (such as yoga), it is in fact that, a practice. You can practice as frequently, or infrequently, as you like. No matter how long it’s been since your last nap, your pillow will welcome you and whisk you away to a peaceful paradise.
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