If you find yourself dragging through your workday, consider taking a nap instead of drinking caffeine. Several studies show that naps are excellent at boosting cognitive functions, improving your energy, and dealing with the hazards that come with sleep deprivation.
However, not all naps are equal, since many factors will decide their effectiveness. To make the most of your siesta sessions, it is important to know the roles napping plays and the best times to take them without interfering with your body’s internal clock. We will discuss some of these tips in this article, which should help you boost your energy and still get proper shut-eye at night.
Different types of naps
Depending on their functions, different naps can land in different groups, and knowing this will help you make the most from them. They are:
When you are sleep-deprived, chances are high that you will struggle with fatigue the following day. In this case, you may require recovery naps to compensate for the tiredness.
This is a nap you take to prepare for sleep losses, such as if you are heading to a night shift job. This helps you stay alert as you work during these hours.
These sleep sessions are mainly because you enjoy them, or want to lift your energy and mood when you are awake.
If you have young children, you will know their greater sleep requirements compared to an adult. These naps are what are termed ‘fulfillment naps’ because they satisfy the needs of a growing child.
This usually happens when you are sick, and your immune system needs your body to shut down to boost the recovery process.
How you can make the most of your naps
Do not take them if you struggle with insomnia
If you happen to struggle with the occasional episode of sleep deprivation, a daytime nap will help you regain your energy. However, insomnia sufferers will do better without naps because it will help them enhance their sleep continuity.
Set time limits for your nap
You do not want your afternoon napping time to turn into sleeping the entire day – what you need are short sleep times lasting a maximum of 25 to 30 minutes. This should give you sufficient sleep time without entering into the deep sleep phases that can make you feel tired after waking up.
If you take it for more than 30 minutes, your body will enter into a deep sleep and make you feel worse when you need to be awake – for instance, getting a headache when you wake up, because your body was unprepared to wake up at that time.
If you have the time, get a ‘full sleep cycle nap’
There are days when the 30-minute nap is not enough, because we may be very tired – and that is okay. If this is the case for you and you have some time to spare, choose a 90-minute nap instead. If you are working from home, for instance, you can consider looking up how to choose a Nectar mattress that you can sleep on during your napping sessions. This will allow the body and mind to drift into REM sleep which can probably result in creativity boosts and make up for lost sleep time.
This is likely due to a study finding that the average sleep cycle in a person is 90 minutes. Therefore, you can choose a 25 to 30-minute nap for a short break, or take a 90-minute one for a longer break; this will also depend on the time available and the results you want from the nap.
Consider taking walks
If you are feeling your mind and body slowing down after consuming lunch, you can think about taking a walk for about 15 minutes instead of sleeping to boost your energy. Tiredness might mean your body needs some sunlight due to the core body temperature falling at this time, which signals to the brain that it needs to produce melatonin, and this prompts you to feel sleepy.
Avoid napping after late afternoon hours
If you are sleep-deprived and feel tired, you can get an energy boost from a nap – so make sure your nap hours are between noon and 4 P.M., as this matches the lowest points of your circadian cycle.
If you are a frequent napper, making the most of your time and sleep during these periods is important, and we hope these tips will help you to do so.