Sometimes, it's hard to make it through the day without feeling utterly exhausted. You want to take a nap, but what if you can't sleep that night? Then you'll be tired again all day tomorrow. It's a vicious cycle.
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The truth of the matter is that when it comes to sleep, like any area of life, everyone is different. Doctors recommend a certain number of hours of sleep a night, but they're talking in generalities. Some people need more sleep and some people need less. The key to success is finding what is right for you. Even though there is no one right answer, there are a few general rules that can help you out.
Rule#1: Take Short Naps
If you feel like you simply can't make it through the day, take a short nap. Allow yourself 10-20 minutes to rest, nap, and get away from it all. You will likely wake with an improved mood and more alertness. It's hard to take time out of your day for rest, but you can get more done when you feel rested.
Sleep happens in stages and when you hit a deeper sleep, you have more trouble waking up. Sleeping for 10-20 minutes takes the edge off your tiredness, but allows you to feel more alert. If you sleep for half an hour or longer, you may have trouble waking up and you may have issues getting a restful sleep that night.
Rule#2: Space the Naps
If you want to take a nap during the day, make sure you have at least four hours between the end of your nap and your bedtime. The more hours, the better, but if there are at least four, you are more likely going to be able to go back to sleep.
Those who nap regularly are less likely to be sleepy throughout the day. You are much better off taking a 10-minute nap instead of downing a bunch of caffeine and energy drinks.
Experiment with napping and see what works best for your body and sleep rhythms. If any nap at all, even short naps, interfere with your overnight rest, you might want to skip naps altogether. If you find short, sweet little naps make all the difference in your day and don't interfere with your restful sleep at night, make time for them!