For a long time, an afternoon nap was considered to be the domain of slackers and seniors. Not anymore.
Today, the perks of catching a few extra winks during the day are well documented. In fact, with almost 50% of the population being sleep deprived, a little mid-day shuteye can do wonders for your productivity and performance.
It apparently boosts memory, lowers blood pressure, makes you alert, reduces anxiety and boosts creativity. Need more reasons to go snooze during the day?
Companies, colleges and even the Google Maps parody titled ‘Google Naps’ are going out of their way to help people catch a few winks when they need it the most.
However, napping is an art that only few have mastered. Most people sleep too much and end up groggy for the next couple of hours. That’s a condition called sleep inertia. Others are unable to find the right place to nap.
If you are one of the few who are struggling to master the art of napping, then here are five tips that will help you get there.
Don’t overdo it:
The most crucial aspect of sleeping during the day is the risk of overdoing it or waking up in the middle of a deep sleep cycle, both of which can be detrimental for performance. If you are an insomniac who’s struggling with day time drowsiness, then oversleeping can further delay the time it takes for you to fall asleep at bedtime. Experts recommend that you keep it 20 minutes or at least 90 minutes. The 20 minute nap will help you make you alert while the 90 minute one is recommended if you plan to burn the midnight oil. It adds up to your sleep time.
Google, Ben and Jerry’s, Uber, PwC, and Zappos are a handful of companies who have set up nap rooms or pods for their employees. But if you aren’t lucky enough to be working for one of these guys, you can still find the perfect napping spot with some luck and some scouting. The place needs to be comfy enough for you to rest on. But not too comfy either lest you plan to retire for the day. Also, use noise-cancellation earplugs to cut out the outside noise. If you have the option, draw the shades. If not, then use blinders. Create the perfect sleep chamber that helps you doze off instantly.
Set an alarm:
Setting an alarm serves two purposes. Number one, it ensures that you won’t oversleep and secondly, it allows you to relax and go to sleep without worrying about whether you will oversleep.
When to nap:
Another conundrum faced by newbie nappers is to find the best time to nap. Is it afternoon? Is it early evening? Is it at 1 pm? Does 3 pm sound better? The truth is that the best time to nap depends on the time that you woke up at. If you are an early riser who is up by 6 am, then the apt time to nap will be around 1 pm. If you woke up later, say around 9, then you can delay the nap until 3 pm. Dr. Sarah Mednick, the author of ‘Take a Nap’ has an interactive tool called ‘Nap wheel’ on her website which helps you find the perfect wakeup time and nap time.
The Caffeine Nap:
The Caffeine Nap, also known as the Espresso nap or Napuccino, is a scientifically proven technique to help beat the peak in drowsiness that occurs mid-afternoon. Take a mug of coffee (sans sugar if possible) just when you are ready to take a nap. Take the nap immediately after you drink the beverage and set the alarm for 20 minutes. The caffeine will kick-in after 20 minutes just when you are about to wake up. The advantage is that you will be feeling refreshed from the small nap and will wake up with the stimulant effect of the caffeine, feeling alert.
The human body is biologically programmed to fall asleep during the day as research indicates.
Why deny it?
Enjoy your mid-day snooze and reap the benefits.