As a nation, the US is becoming increasingly sleep deprived. Whether this is due to long working hours, looking after our children or more time spent on devices, we’re simply not getting as much sleep as we used to.
While a nap is no replacement for a good night’s sleep, it can certainly help us become more productive, happy and alert throughout the day. Not convinced? Well it might interest you to know that the humble nap was famously championed by famous figures such as Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci and Eleanor Roosevelt, who regularly scheduled a snooze into their day.
With World Sleep Day just around the corner, we’re here to guide you through the delicate art of napping with some frequently asked questions from a select group of beginners.
Q: Where should I nap?
A: The beauty of a nap is that you can do it almost anywhere. Unlike a full night’s sleep, you can choose any convenient place to rest because you will only be there for a short period of time. This could be on a desk, couch, bed, car or on public transport – the world is your oyster.
Q: What time of day should I nap?
A: To know when you should nap, simply listen to your body. Are your eyes feeling heavy? Are you finding it hard to concentrate? Are you feeling lethargic? If so, give your body the rest it needs.
If you prefer a routine, why not experiment with setting a time to nap every day. This could be on your lunch break at work or when you get home after a long day.
Q: How long should I nap for?
A: There is no set amount of time for how long a nap should be. However, it is important to understand how the length of a nap can affect the benefits you get.
10-20 minutes – Known as a ‘power nap’, this amount of sleep boosts your alertness and energy. This light sleep means it is easy to wake up without feeling tired.
30-60 minutes – This means you achieve some ‘slow-wave’ sleep, which helps improve your memory. But beware, this length of nap can leave you feeling groggy and tired, a state also known as sleep inertia.
90 minutes – A full cycle of sleep that includes REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, takes 90 minutes to complete. This length of nap allows you to dream and is easy to wake up from, leaving you feeling refreshed and more creative.
So there you have it, all the information you’ll possibly need to have your first successful nap!