Everyone loves sleep, but sometimes you literally can’t get enough of it. Students in particular have a bad time getting their eight hours a day when they have to study for finals and midterms. You just don’t have enough time at night, so you consider taking a nap during the day to keep yourself going. There’s nothing wrong with taking a nap in and of itself, but there are some basic guidelines you should keep in mind. Here are the do’s and don’ts of napping for healthy adults;
•Do keep your nap short
Scientists recommend that the ideal time for a nap is between 10 and 20 minutes. If you sleep for longer than that you’ll wake up feeling groggy. It’ll be much harder to drag yourself out of bed (or off the couch) and get back to work.
•Do take a nap in the mid-afternoon
The mid-afternoon is the best time to take a nap. This is when the sleepiness of a good lunch starts to kick in and energy reserves feel like they are running out. It’s also the ideal time because it is early enough to not disrupt sleeping at night.
•Do nap in a peaceful and comfortable environment
It might be more convenient to just put your head down on the desk in the library and catch a bit of sleep before getting back to the grind, but you’ll have a much easier time falling asleep if you do it in a more restful and relaxing atmosphere.
•Don’t nap too late
Don’t take a nap late at night when you’ll be sleeping soon. Napping late at night makes it more difficult to sleep properly when the time comes. If you nap when the sun has set you can confuse your body and think you’re settling in for the night.
•Don’t replace sleeping with naps
You shouldn’t use napping as a substitute for proper sleep. You might believe you don’t have the time for sleep, but napping is nowhere near as restful as sleep. You need to take time to be properly rested and alert.
•Don’t drink or take sleeping aids
You might think that having some alcohol or taking a sleeping aid will make you fall asleep faster. The reality is that you’ll wake up feeling worse than you were before you slept.
Benefits of Napping
Napping can do wonders for your memory. The improved memory is the main benefit for students studying for exams. Taking some time out of your day to have a quick nap lets you absorb the information you’ve just learned. You retain it better too, so you’ll have an easier time recalling it in the exam room.
Naps can leave you feeling emotionally better as well as physically. You’ll wake up relaxed, more alert, and less fatigued. A lack of sleep can be very stressful, so taking half an hour out of your day to get a little sleep is a good way to feel better.
•Coffee and Naps
Some experts believe that having a coffee before napping can leave you feeling more alert when you wake up. The problem is that timing is important as caffeine is a stimulant. You should drink the coffee around 15 minutes before napping. That gives you time to digest the coffee so that it kicks in when you wake up.
Factors that Determine How Beneficial a Nap Is
You have to be mindful of when you take a nap. It should be in accordance with the circadian rhythm to ensure that you get the most benefit from napping. Like we mentioned before, a nap in the early afternoon is the best choice.
Compared to sleeping longer at night or having a coffee for a quick pick-me-up, taking a nap has been shown to be the best method to deal with afternoon drowsiness. Taking an afternoon nap improves sleep efficiency and increases short-wave sleep. Napping at the wrong time messes up your circadian rhythm and reduces the effectiveness of actual sleep.
•How Often You Nap
It’s been shown that the more naps you have the better their benefits are. People who regularly nap find them more refreshing than those who don’t. Regular nappers show a drop in body temperature prior to napping and they sleep lighter, which could explain why they wake up faster than their non-napping counterparts.
•Circadian Rhythm Disruption
Factors that affect your biological clock – such as daylight savings time, jet lag, shift work, and insomnia – make you feel tired and sleepy. Napping if you have a disrupted circadian rhythm can help you to deal with it and stay your best.
•Length of Nap
As mentioned before, the length of nap is important. Naps of between 10 and 20 minutes offer the most benefits because they produce less sleep inertia and slow-wave activity. Try to keep naps under 20 minutes.
It’s important that you always endeavor to take care of yourself. You should get the right amount of sleep your body and mind need. Whether you get it all at night or you have to take naps during the day, what matters is that you sleep off the stress. Keep naps short and sweet and don’t use them to replace actual restful sleep and you should be fine. Don’t forget to find somewhere nice, quiet, and comfortable to take your nap too!