Ever woken up from a nap wondering if it’s still the same day (or even month?) Ever played nap roulette, laying down ‘just to rest your eyes’ without setting an alarm? Ever woken up from your nap feeling more tired than before you snuck in a quick snooze?
The humble nap is something we definitely fantasise about (particularly at work when it hits 3pm!), but when it comes to actually getting that shut-eye, it can sometimes be easier said than done.
Here are our tips on how to nail your next nap.
1. Get the timing right
A good nap comes down to many factors, but the most important one – how long you nap for. The best length for a quick energy boost? 10-26 minutes. Sounds specific, but a NASA Case Study showed that 26 minutes was the exact nap duration that led to boosts in pilot performance and alertness by up to 50% – and if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for us.
It takes 90 minutes to work through an entire sleep cycle, but be wary of napping any longer as you 1) won’t get any additional benefits and 2) may impact your ability to drift off later at night.
2. Nap in bed
We’ve all longingly thought about crawling back into bed, particularly as the days get colder now that winter is here. But napping in your bed can actually help to speed up the process, as it’s the place your brain traditionally associates with sleep.
If your bed’s not an option (or you just can’t be bothered to leave the couch), at least try to get as horizontal as possible for the optimum nap position.
3. Be a scent-sible napper
A 2012 study found that participants who smelled lavender before dozing off woke up feeling more alert and had a better quality of sleep overall.
Just like how your brain associates your bed with sleep, it can also associate smells with snoozing, too. Breathe in a lavender sleep before each nap, and your brain will get the message pretty quickly.
4. Can’t sleep? Rest is good, too
If you’ve been lying there for 10 minutes scrunching your eyes up to no avail, you can rest easy knowing that trying is almost just as effective as the real deal.
Resting has been proven to calm your mood, let your muscles relax, increase your alertness and boost your creativity. After 20 mins closing your eyes and focussing on your breathing, you’ll feel a second wave of energy to help you tackle the rest of your day.
So go forth and nap like a pro – and let us know if these tips work for you!
Note: If you’re regularly feeling that you need a nap, it could be a sign that your nightly sleep isn’t up to scratch. Get in touch with the sleep experts at Brownies to understand more about your sleeping patterns, and how we can help you get the good night’s sleep you deserve.