I’m going to be straight with you: if you already love naps and are happy with your routine, you can skip this article. (Try this post about spider prevention, instead.)
This one goes out to the napping haters – all those desperate souls living a full-night’s-sleep-only existence. You don’t hate naps because they’re bad…you might just be doing it wrong.
Ready to up your napping game? Follow this four-step nap routine.
Studies have shown that it’s 50% harder to fall asleep if you’re sitting up versus lying down. So, avoid chairs if you can. In terms of the old “couch vs. bed” debate, I’ll say this: the more important thing is to nap in as dark and quiet a room as possible, so both beds and couches could work. I personally nap on a couch because I’m afraid of oversleeping in the incredible comfort of my massive bed (not to brag or anything…but my bed rocks).
You don’t want to nap too close to bedtime. So, an afternoon snooze between 1 and 2 pm is ideal (this is also the time when most people get groggy and reach for coffee). You want to get in and out of sleep before it gets dark outside because waking up in the dark can be confusing to your body.
Messing this part up is the reason a lot of people hate naps. It takes 45 minutes to enter a REM sleep cycle and 90 minutes to complete one. This means that if you sleep for an hour you’re going to wake up groggy and pissed instead of relaxed and re-energized. If you want to just refocus and recharge quickly, shoot for a 20-30 minute catnap. If you’re looking to boost your creativity, go big with something north of 90 minutes.
As soon as you think something like, “Crap it’s taking forever to fall asleep my time’s almost over,” your nap is ruined. So don’t stress about it! Research from the book Permission to Nap: Taking Time to Restore Your Spirit has suggested that just trying to nap can reduce blood pressure and help you relax, so you’re still helping yourself out.