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May 20, 2016

How to get that perfect nap.

Naps not being part of my daily routine are one of my greatest disappointments with adult life. But there is no reason why naps need to be the domain of children. When done right, naps can have a lot of benefits for adults as well.

The benefits of napping

Napping has been shown to greatly improve alertness, enhance performance at mental and physical tasks, and reduce cognitive mistakes

Anyone who's tried to work when they're very tired knows how difficult it is to remain creative and focused. A short nap can help provide an immediate boost to alertness, lifting some of the fog clouding your thoughts.

As well as the cognitive improvements, naps have been shown to have psychological benefits, leaving you feeling happier and refreshed. This is especially important if you're napping due to lack of sleep during the night, as long term REM sleep deprivation has shown to increase susceptibility to anxiety and depression.

Of course, naps have some downsides too. They can leave you feeling groggy and lethargic when you wake up and interfere with your later sleeping periods, which just increases your unproductiveness. 

However, keeping the following tips in mind can help you get that perfect nap. 

Time the length of your nap according to your needs.

10-20 minutes

If you're looking for a boost to alertness, this is the ideal length for you. Studies have shown that a short 10-20 minute nap can improve attention without increasing grogginess or affecting later sleep patterns.

60 minutes

An hour long nap works best if you need some extended rest but do not want to completely unproductive. Naps of this length have been shown to improve short term recall, helping you remember  facts and names. However, as it is too short to be a full cycle of sleep and too long to avoid deep slow-wave sleep, there will be some grogginess when you wake up.

90 minutes

90 minutes is generally the length of a full cycles of sleep. This means it includes light sleep, deeper slow-wave sleep and REM sleep. Going through a full cycle helps improve and consolidate spatial and procedural memory and improve your ability to learn complex tasks. Going through a full cycle of sleep is also helpful in avoiding sleep inertia, making you more alert when you wake up.

Nap in a comfortable environment

Make sure the place where you sleep is free of excessive noise and light

Make sure you are in a comfortable position (or lying in some wonderfully cozy Syona Home bedsheets)

Nap at the appropriate time

Depending on when you wake up, the ideal time to nap changes. For most people, it should be sometimes around 2-3 in the afternoon - too late for you to still be energized from waking up in the morning, and too early to affect your sleep at night. You can use this useful nap clock to find the best time for youhttp://saramednick.com/htmls/book/napwheel.htm.

For the perfect productivity boost, grab a napuccino

Caffeine usually takes around 20 minutes to take effect. Drinking a caffeinated beverage right before you take a short 10-20 minute nap lets the caffeine hit you just as you wake up, combining both effects to give you a massive boost to alertness.

Naps are some of the best parts of being a child. There's no reason they can't be an amazing part of adult life either!

 

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