I love to nap so I want to share rules on how to nap – for the best effects. I recognize that not everyone shares my love. Some people say that napping actually makes them feel more tired and sluggish. Others say that can’t fall asleep. Let me address all that – because there are some basic rules about napping that makes the time more refreshing.
But first, let me say that there is quite a lot of research that shows that napping can help to increase focus and attention – and reduce incidences of micro sleep episodes (where someone might nod off for a few moments) – dangerous for truck drivers, pilots, and surgeons.
To me, it’s much like when your computer is spazzing out – freezing up, the cursor disappears…or other funky things happen. It’s amazing how just shutting down the computer and rebooting it works to get it running smoothly once again. For me, a short nap works the same way – as long as you follow a few rules.
Basic Rules on How to Nap Without Grogginess
- Short naps are best. 10-15, maybe 20 minutes. Remember, during the sleep cycle, you go from a light sleep into a deep sleep. So, you want to keep the nap short so you don’t go into a deep sleep. Waking from a deep sleep will make you feel very groggy.
- Especially if you’re sleep-deprived already. The more sleep deprived, the faster you’ll fall into a deep sleep…so really keep to the short time. Set an alarm to make sure.
- Best time is 1-3PM. Naps are best taken when your body clock is at its lowest (when you’re most tired). This is often around 1-3PM, but it may be earlier.
- Don’t nap after 4pm. Late naps may make it difficult to fall asleep quickly in the evening.
- Try caffeine, then a nap. Most people take a short nap, then drink some caffeine. But since it takes 30-45 minutes for caffeine to peak in your bloodstream, it’s actually a good idea to drink the caffeine first, THEN take a nap…you’ll wake up more refreshed with the nap and the caffeine.
Don’t have a nap chair at your office? I’ve often gone down to the parking garage during my lunch hour, drop the seat, and taken a nap there.