Ahh…a nap. A few precious moments to catch a little rest and shut eye, and you lay down on the couch to rest your eyes for a lovely 15 minutes or so. Nothing like a power nap to energize you and get you back on your feet to tackle the rest of the day.
Then you wake up 3 hours later, groggy and grumpy as Hell, and with a majority of your afternoon wasted, you’re more tired and stressed and grumpy than you were before you fell asleep! You almost wish you hadn’t rested your head in the middle of the day to begin with, because now you’ve snoozed the afternoon away and feel even worse than before you laid down. To avoid taking a disastrous nap in the future, here are some tips on how to take a successful nap that will leave you feeling refreshed rather than drained when you wake up.
Keep it to a simple “power nap”. Experts say the most beneficial naps are about 15 minutes to a half hour, and longer naps put us into a deeper sleep, which when interrupted can leave us feeling disoriented, groggy, and less enthused about waking up. If you’re worried about falling into a deep slumber when you nap, set an alarm to wake you in about 20 minutes to avoid sleeping the whole day away.
Keep your stimulating drinks at bay after 3 PM. Coffee and caffeinated beverages tend to give us ample energy then low energy in random intervals all day long, and at 3 PM when you really want a nap due to the fluctuation in energy levels all day long, if you’re sucking down coffee like no tomorrow, good luck getting a nap. Your body may be tired, but your mind will be in overdrive and make it very difficult to nap. If you want to take a nap later on in the evening, try to keep stimulating substances out of your system after 3 PM.
Nap in a darkened, quiet room with a comfortable temperature setting. Trying to nap with the TV blaring can make sleep difficult, and your alarm may blast in your ear before you’ve even closed your eyes in slumber. Keep your body in a mindful state of sleep by choosing a quiet, comfortable area with the lights off to get into a nap more quickly.
Nap between noon and 2 o’clock in the afternoon. These are the hours in which a power nap is more beneficial to get you through the rest of the day, and where you can get more energy to last you until evening. If you must nap later in the afternoon, try to keep it a short one so you don’t keep yourself up come bedtime.
If you just plain can’t nap, a simple rest will do. Even just meditation can help energize your body and give you a break from the buzz of the day and all the stress in your mind and body. Even 15 minutes of just lying on the couch resting without actually napping can make you feel better than you’ve felt since you first woke up in the morning!