Today is National Napping Day and science shows taking a nap can actually improve your work performance and provide a number of other benefits. The next time you start to feel sleepy mid-day, Resurgens Orthopaedics would like to suggest that instead of drinking another caffeinated beverage, you consider taking a brief nap. Here’s some more info about the health benefits of napping and some tips to help you get the most from your daytime slumber.
Health Benefits of Napping
According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are plenty of health benefits imparted by taking a mid-day rest. First of all, taking some time to rest keeps you alert, more so than consuming caffeinated beverages. That means you’ll be sharper, more socially capable, and less irritable. A short nap even helps with retention of information, problem solving, and stress management, so there are plenty of reasons why napping makes you a better worker and a more effective person. Early afternoon is the best time for a nap, as that’s the time when your blood sugar and energy levels start to decline.
Ideal Length for a Nap
Napping can be a risky proposition if you’ve got things to do this afternoon. Snooze too long and you’ll end up feeling groggy when you wake up, and a long mid-day nap can make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night. For maximum efficiency, set your alarm for 20 minutes after you lie down. This is known as a stage 2 nap, and will keep you in the non-REM part of your sleep cycle. If everything goes according to plan, you’ll wake up feeling energized and you won’t have a desire to fall back asleep. If you have time for a longer nap, shoot for about 90 minutes so you can complete one full sleep cycle and wake up feeling like a million bucks.
Tips for a Good Nap
Some people have difficulty sleeping during the day. Light, noise, and a racing mind can all make it difficult to nod off while the sun is up. Ideally, you should take a nap in bed or on a couch for maximum comfort. Odds are, your workplace doesn’t provide beds, so you may have to try reclining your desk chair or napping face down on the breakroom table. If it’s too noisy for you, try listening to calming music on noise-cancelling headphones. You can even try sleeping in your car if that’s more comfortable for you. If you can’t get your mind to slow down, try meditating or listening to soothing music; that may be just what you need to calm down and catch some Zs.
Finding the time for a nap isn’t always easy but it could be more important than you think. Millions of Americans don’t get enough sleep, so instead of relying on caffeine to keep you alert, try taking a 20-minute nap instead. When you wake up, you’ll feel a lot better and you’ll be ready to attack the rest of your day!