The Art of Napping

It has been found that incorporating a 10-15 minute nap into your afternoon schedule can improve your overall focus and productivity, thus leading to greater happiness and success. An afternoon nap gives one a chance to unplug from the demands of the day. It’s an opportunity for the brain to ‘recharge’ and can be the solution for keeping your day on track.

There is an art for getting the most of a nap and here are some guidelines. Ideally, a nap routine should be planned for, scheduled and tailored to what works best for you. All you need is 10-15 minutes incorporated into the day. If you can incorporate a 20-30 minute nap, the benefits are greater than a 10-15 minute nap. The 20-30 minute nap is considered the optimal napping time since stage 2 sleep enhances alertness, concentration and motor skills. We realize that not all days will allow for a 20-30 minute nap so aim for 10-15 but go longer when possible.

Plan Your Nap:

• Decide on the length of the nap and set an alarm to wake up.
• Nap about 6-8 hours after waking but not too close to bedtime.
• Create an environment of low light and noise with a comfortable temperature.
• Recline or lie down if possible – sitting up may affect the ability to fall asleep as fast.

Naps that are too long can lead to post-nap blues that can leave you feeling groggy. Understanding the best way to take a nap to feel refreshed and invigorated will lead to improved performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory.

Try a ‘coffee nap’ for a greater pick-me-up! It takes about 20-30 minutes for caffeine to take effect so if you drink coffee just before a 10-15 minute nap, you will feel invincible for the remainder of the day. It has been proven that having coffee and a nap are more effective than doing either alone.

Napping shouldn’t replace a good night’s sleep. A nap is meant to re-charge not substitute. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can lead to many heath concerns such as high blood pressure, type II diabetes and depression. Make sleep a priority and napping a strategy for making you the best that you can be!

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