Grab the softest things you can find, go pee, and then come with me.
We’re going to take a nap. Yes, you and me. Napping. Together.
I grabbed the new melt-in-my fingertips blanket that looks eerily like it is made from the ancestors of my old-as-the Altai Mountains silver Siamese-Tabby. What did you grab?
Don’t whine, I don’t care that your to-do list isn’t finished. (newsflash, it never will be)
The only fair excuse for delaying your nap with me is that your fingernail polish is still wet.
We have some healthy living to do, so we are going to take a nap. WHY?
Because I said so. That answer works for the kiddos, but you blanket-toting grown-ups deserve an explanation.
Here Goes the Reasons….
- Napping is the best way to combat the harmful effects of sleep deprivation. In other words, repay your sleep debt.
- Getting fewer than your full night’s sleep several days in a row has the same effect as staying awake for 24 hours straight.
- The National Sleep Foundation told me that adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best.
- Over time, chronic sleep debt can lead to fatigue (no kidding?), increased stress levels, reduced attention span, and declined cognitive performance.
- And, the best reason: You get permission to turn off the lights, cuddle up, close your eyes, and stop the world for just a few.
The length of your nap and the type of sleep you get determine the benefits of each naptime.
10-20 minutes: This power nap will boost your energy and alertness, and because it’s short and light, you should be able to awake easily and feeling rested. (non-REM sleep)
20-30 minutes: Snoozing for this long may have you awaking feeling groggy but is still beneficial.
30-60 minutes: Set your alarm for 60 minutes and you’ve allowed yourself some deeper sleep that will offer benefits in your memory and concentration. That’s important so you’ll remember my name when you wake up beside me.
60-90 minutes: If you are going for the whole enchilada, you can get it with a nap this long. You can move through a full cycle of sleep including REM sleep with dreaming free of charge! This nap can have you awaken with improved problem-solving ability, enhanced creativity, happiness, positivity, and memory. You should awaken easily after this full-length feature without feeling groggy.
Here are some more tips and tricks…
- Choose a dark, quiet, comfortable place where you can relax
- Try to limit the amount of noise and light in the room, and make sure the temperature is comfortable
- Choose a time that works for you, and aim to nap at that time each day to establish a routine. You may find that restricting your naps to the early afternoon (between 1 and 3pm, or an hour or two after lunch) is less likely to interfere with your nighttime sleep.
- Set an alarm on your cell phone and put it to nighttime or airplane mode. Your alarm should be the only sound that comes from that device.
- If you’re napping at the office, close the door and hang a sign that says “back in 30 minutes”. If that won’t work, you can nap in your car or find another safe place to put your head down.
- Wherever you nap, bring along something that you associate with sleep. Consider a sleep mask, neck pillow, relaxing playlist, blanket/teddy bear, or warm socks. Dab some lavender essential oil to your pulse points and you’re set.
- Keep in mind that longer naps may be followed by a period of grogginess. Give yourself time to wake fully before you jump back into whatever you need to do.
Photo Credit: Mark Stross (my rainforest naptime)