It is not uncommon to hit a bit of an energy slump midday. The effects of your morning coffee are wearing off and maybe that lunch was a little too heavy to contribute to your afternoon productivity. Although regular experiences of severe drops in energy might indicate a larger problem, the occasional need for a daytime nap is normal.
If you want to make the most of your afternoon shut-eye, read on for some tips on how to get the most out of your nap!
Related Blog: How to Get the Most Out of Your Naps
Best Nap Practices:
There is more than one right way to nap. However, depending on your sleep needs, different styles of napping may be best for your situation. Here are some tips:
- Shorter than 20 minutes. If you are just trying to knock off the afternoon blahs, keep your nap short. Otherwise, you may slip into R.E.M. sleep which will leave you feeling groggy instead of refreshed. These short "Power Naps" have been shown to increase focus and motor coordination.
- Longer than 90 minutes. Okay, it may sound like it contradicts the last advice but hear us out! If you know that you did not get enough sleep last night, and only some deep sleep will help you regain your focus, then make sure to schedule at least 90 minutes. This will give you enough time to work through the stages of sleep so you won't be as likely to feel disoriented when you wake up. Longer naps can improve problem solving and creativity.
- After coffee. It may seem counterintuitive, but guzzling a coffee immediately before a nap can boost the alertness you will feel when you wake up from a short power nap. Caffeine takes about 20 minutes for the effects to take full force so coordinating this stimulant with your naps can maximize the mid-afternoon boost effect.
When NOT to Nap:
- After 4:00 PM. If you have a more-or-less regular sleep schedule that includes sleeping at night, taking a late nap is most likely to negatively impact your ability to get a good night's rest that evening.
- If you struggle with sleep. Unless instructed by your doctor, if you are struggling to get to sleep or stay asleep at night, taking naps could be making the problem worse.
- If you can't lie down. Hopefully you have access to a comfortable mattress for your nap. If not, you may wake up more sore and tired from the muscle fatigue that can be caused from trying to sleep without proper support.
Alternatives to a Nap:
- Brief exercise. If your goal is to eradicate a mid-afternoon energy slump, some brief exercise may be just as effective to stimulate a natural energy boost. Get your blood pumping with a brisk walk around the block.
- Get some sun. Natural light can trigger hormonal responses that can help shake off those sleepy feelings.
- Drink some water. When your body gets dehydrated, one of the responses is fatigue. Make sure you are getting enough non-caffeinated beverages (since caffeine acts as a diuretic and can cause you to dehydrate) to maintain your body's ideal hydration levels.
If you find yourself needing a nap every day, the problem may be deeper than you think. If you are not getting adequate rest at night, trying to fix it with a daily nap may only be masking the bigger problem. If you want the most restful night's sleep possible, one of the biggest factors is a quality mattress.
If you live near Sarasota or Venice, FL, come visit us at Land of Sleep to find out if a new luxury mattress delivered free to your home may be the answer for you.