It’s World Sleep Day, meant to celebrate sleep and raise awareness of sleep issues. In honor of the day, here’s everything you need to know about the perfect nap
World Sleep Day celebrated annually sleep, falls on the Friday before the vernal equinox every March. Organized by the World Sleep Society’s World Sleep Day Committee, the day aims to raise awareness of sleep issues.
If you feel like you haven’t had one yet Good night’s sleep, a solid nap can be one of the best ways to restore energy levels throughout the day. However, it’s important to get the napping technique just right — if you get it wrong, you could actually end up feeling groggy and disrupting your sleep at night.
What is the best length for a nap?
Naps are great for you, but oversleeping is not good. Kiera Pritchard explains that since sleep comes in cycles, it’s important that you choose a nap length that works well with the demands of your day.
A normal sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes and begins with lighter stages of sleep before entering deep, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
30-60 minute nap
This length might seem tempting as they are quite short. However, these naps usually send you into the deeper third and fourth stages of sleep. So when you wake up, you may experience sleep inertia, which is the transitional stage between sleep and wakefulness. This can make you feel lightheaded and sleepy, which can affect the rest of your day.
90 minute nap
These naps are the perfect length as they allow you to complete a full sleep cycle. Because you’ve experienced each stage of sleep within 90 minutes, you tend to wake up easily from those naps, feeling refreshed and more awake
Napping for a full sleep cycle helps increase creativity and improve procedural and emotional memory. However, try not to take those 90-minute naps within seven hours of your scheduled bedtime, as it could interfere with your nightly sleep.
10-20 minute nap
If you don’t have time for a 90-minute nap in your schedule, a 10-20 minute power nap is also great for boosting energy and alertness.
You usually stay within this length during the first two phases of non-rapid eye movement, which are the lightest phases of sleep. This means you can easily wake up to them and feel awake with increased performance.
What is the best time of day for a nap?
According to sleep expert Kiera Pritchard, the best time to take a nap is six to eight hours after waking up. This is typically between 1pm and 3pm for most people.
Taking a nap anytime after that can disrupt your sleep schedule and make it difficult to sleep at night. So try to sleep no later than early afternoon or about the middle of the time you normally wake up and go to bed.
What Are the Health Benefits of Napping?
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A nap not only makes you feel rested, it also offers several mental and physical benefits. Some benefits of napping are:
- Improved Mood – Napping can significantly improve your mood and reduce negative reactions to anxiety and fear.
- Improved memory – Naps help consolidate memories of what you learned earlier in the day at school or at work.
- creativity – A nap can help make connections between different concepts, which can then manifest as increased creativity if you sleep long enough to enter REM sleep.
- Restoration – A nap helps you recover from an illness as it allows your body to regain energy to fight off a viral or bacterial infection.
3 steps to the perfect nap
First, find a quiet, restful place to take your nap. This should ideally be a dark and relatively cool place with minimal distractions. At home, the obvious choice would be your bedroom. But when you’re in your office or car, an eye mask and earplugs can help you block out outside noise and light.
Before you nap, set an alarm for the time you want to sleep to make sure you don’t oversleep.
If you can’t fall asleep, try de-stressing and relaxing with breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation.
Lie down with your eyes closed and breathe in and out slowly. Pritchard said, “As you inhale, focus on directing your breath toward your abdomen. It can also be helpful to say a mantra to yourself, such as “Inhale I’m calm, exhale I’m okay” while doing this breathing exercise.
She added: “After taking a few gentle breaths, start tensing muscle groups as you breathe. This method requires you to hold the tension in a muscle as you breathe in and release it as you breathe out. Start with the muscles in your head and neck, then move your focus down to your body. Tighten and relax your muscles in your shoulders, arms, back, stomach, thighs and so on.”
After your nap
If you wake up from your nap groggy, there are a few solutions:
- Take a short walk in the sun to get your body moving and get your circadian rhythm back on track.
- Consume a small cup of coffee or another source of moderate caffeine for a quick boost.
- Splash some cold water on your face.
Napping has been shown to be just as effective at improving memory processes as sleeping at night. However, Pritchard emphasizes that no nap can replace a night of lost sleep, adding that getting a good night’s sleep should be your top priority.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/tips-taking-perfect-nap-26498219 Tips for the perfect nap