Now that you know the many benefits of daytime nap, the trick is training your brain and body to fall asleep quickly.
The following tips will help you achieve the best nap possible and ensure you wake up refreshed:
1. Don’t Nap in the Late Afternoon/Evening
The later in the day you nap, the higher chance of your nighttime sleep being affected. Late morning or early afternoon is ideal for a power nap.
2. Schedule Your Nap
To fit in a daytime snooze, make a commitment by writing it down. Prioritize your naptime just like you would an important appointment. Even if you can only spare 15-20 minutes, you’ll reap the benefits. Plus, scheduling a nap in advance means less naptime anxiety, which can make it easier to fall asleep.
3. Let Coworkers, Family, and Friends Know You’re Unavailable
If you’re trying to fall asleep, the last thing you need is constant interruptions.
4. Set an Alarm
Stress less about oversleeping by setting an alarm before you slumber. Skip alarms with loud beeping sounds which will jar you awake abruptly. Opt instead for a soothing sound or song to help you wake up relaxed.
5. Pick the Perfect Place to Nap
To maximize your power nap, find a quiet, dark, cool room. (See here why it’s easier to sleep when you’re cool).
6. Lie Down
Rather than sitting to snooze, find a comfortable place to lie down. It takes longer to fall asleep in a seated position, taking away from your precious nap time.
7. Put Your Phone in Airplane Mode
Don’t allow technology to come between you and those much needed Z’s. Switch your phone into airplane mode and turn off your other digital devices. (See here how technology is ruining you sleep).
8. Wear a Sleep Mask
If you can’t find a dark space to sleep, pick up an inexpensive eye mask.
9. Bring on the White Noise
For less-than-quiet environments, turn on a fan or a white noise machine. There are also smart phone apps that will lull you to sleep.
10. Consider Earplugs
Complete silence is often impossible for daytime slumber. Pick up a pair of earplugs if you can’t find a quiet room and/or white noise isn’t a possibility.
If you’re not in the habit of napping, relaxing enough to fall asleep can seem impossible. Download a meditation app on your phone, or practice breathing techniques to calm the mind and body.
12. Drink a Cup of Coffee
Consuming a caffeinated beverage pre-nap may seem counterintuitive. But the caffeine won’t kick in for 20-30 minutes, which just happens to be the ideal amount of sleep. With a ‘coffee nap‘, you’ll wake up energized and ready to take on the rest of your day.
13. Grab a Blanket
A cool room is ideal, but snuggling up with a warm blanket will signal your body it’s time for sleep.
14. Be Patient
If you don’t fall asleep, don’t worry. Simply resting also has its perks. It can take time for new nappers to get into the napping groove. Be patient with yourself.
15. Ditch the Guilt
Feeling bad about snoozing during the day can suck the joy out of napping. Self-care is an important part of any daily routine. Taking time just for you is nothing to be ashamed of.
16. One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Finding your naptime sweet spot takes time, and what’s good for one isn’t always good for another. Experiment with where, when, and how long you nap. Trial and error will lead to the perfect siesta.
17. Day Off? Catch a Few Extra Winks
On those occasional days off, enjoy a longer slumber. Setting an alarm for 90 minutes will allow your body to reap the benefits of an entire sleep cycle.
18. Don’t Force It
If you’re just not into napping, trust your gut. Prioritize nighttime sleep and only snooze during the day when you feel the overwhelming urge to snooze.
19. Get Outside
After a power nap, drink a cold glass of lemon water or take a brisk walk outside to increase circulation.
Believe it or not, there’s a wrong way to nap. When you set out to snooze, avoid the following:
20. Don’t Sleep All Day
Unless you’re recuperating from a bug, avoid sleeping all day. Prolonged naps will throw off your sleep cycle and keep you awake at night.
21. Don’t Go From 0 to 100
After waking up from a nap, take time to stretch and ease back into your daily activities.
22. Don’t Change into Your Pyjamas
Except for those once-in-a-while stay in bed all day kind of days, don’t slip into your favorite pyjamas before napping. You want to be comfortable, but not so cozy that you won’t resume your day.
23. Don’t Drink Alcohol
Avoid drinking alcohol before napping, as it can cause grogginess upon waking and make you feel worse than you did before falling asleep.
24. Don’t Let it Affect Your Nighttime Sleep
If you’re missing out on nighttime sleep due to napping during the day, try napping earlier, or skip the nap altogether. Napping shouldn’t interfere without regular sleep schedule.
25. Beware of Sleep Inertia
Waking up groggy or disoriented could be a sign that you need to adjust the duration of your nap. If sleep inertia persists, naps may not be for you.
26. Don’t Ignore Changes in Tiredness and Fatigue
If you notice a change in your daytime sleepiness, or you can’t get through the day without napping, talk to your doctor. These changes may be due to an underlying health condition.
27. Don’t Hit Snooze
Train your brain and body to get up with the alarm.
There are many more pros than cons when it comes to napping. Once you determine your ideal daytime snooze location, time, and duration, you won’t want to miss your daily dose of Z’s.