Napping isn’t just for children or your grandpa, a good nap can make you feel like a million bucks. On the flip side, it can also have reverse effects if not timed properly. Whether you’re a professional napper (not to be confused with a professional rapper) or someone who can’t fathom sleeping during the day, this could change the way you look at your current habits.
Types of Naps
Unfortunately naps are often frowned upon in the U.S., being viewed as lazy - but the joke might be on those laughing. It does no one any good when employees walk around like robots, taking twice as long to do a task. More sleep just might equal more productivity, so if you need to sneak off to your car for a quick snooze during your lunch break, by all means get it done!
Daily Naps - It’s recommended that naps be taken in the afternoon, much like we did in pre-school. We had our afternoon snack, a milk, and then laid down around 2pm.
Sneaky Naps - Those moments you’re nodding off at work and finally decide to shut the office door for a quick 10. Your body demands it and you surrender.
Rollover Naps - You've heard of rollover minutes? This is for those times you didn’t get enough sleep the night before and are playing catch-up.
Escape Naps - When you’re feeling so sick or depressed that you stay in bed and hope to sleep it off. Be careful here of sleep inertia – it will keep you feeling groggy on top of that cold you have.
If you’ve ever went on a diet, played a sport, or done math - you probably learned pretty quickly that we’re all wired differently. It would be amazing if each human came with a manual, but we’re much like the iPhone, we have to poke and ask questions until we discover something new. We simply can not copy the sleep patterns of those around us. What works for one person could be totally contrary to your own chemical makeup.
The good news is, sleep experts say a nap won’t interfere with your night’s sleep. Just make sure it’s completed at least three hours before you go to bed. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind as you develop your optimal sleep rituals.
Do’s and Don’ts
Do: The Sleep Foundation says adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Even more for children and elderly folks.
Do: A quick 20-minute nap helps you wake up feeling alert. It’s the lightest stage of sleep (non-REM) and is easy to fall into and wake up from.
Don’t: A 30-60 minute nap puts you in a deeper sleep, causing grogginess when you wake, running the risk of feeling less alert than before.
Do: A 90-minute nap is the real hero. It’s just enough time to start in a light state of sleep, go into deep sleep, then come back to a light sleep again. This should leave you feeling rested and ready for the remainder of the day.
Don’t: Oversleep. If you sleep too long or take too long of a nap you can develop sleep inertia. The risk here is having brain fog and problems focusing, normally just a few minutes after waking up.
Don’t: Lack of sleep. This could really take a toll on you health if not managed. Higher mortality rate, heart issues, depression, diabetes, focus issues, weight gain, forgetfulness... Sleeping is basic but totally necessary.
Do: Find some freakin’ balance (bet you’ve never heard that before).
Don’t: Stare at your electronic screens when you’re winding down before bed. The bright light tricks our brains into thinking it’s not bedtime, and suppresses the melatonin that helps your brain slow down.
Don’t: Drink alcohol before bedtime. The sugar metabolizes when you’re asleep and may cause you to wake up. Enjoy your drink, but give it a couple of hours before you try sleeping. And drink lots of water.
Don’t: Eat sugar for a pick-me-up. While it will give you a quick jolt, you’ll quickly come down and be even more exhausted than before.
Treat yourself like the snowflake you are and do what works best for your chemical makeup. That all starts with awareness. Now that you have a foundational understanding of how your body works, pay close attention to your own sleep patterns. Start with what the experts say about the human body, then tweak it as an expert in your body.
The National Sleep Foundation: https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
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