We all know that sleep is good for us, in fact I think it’s the ultimate in self- care. But, too many of us are more sleep deprived than ever! I’ve written before about how you can improve the quality of your rest by making a few changes to your evening routine but today I’m looking at the idea of napping as a way to not only increase your amount of rest but also improve the quality of your day, ready to hear more?...
So should we nap?
Despite there still being a stigma around taking a nap; often it’s seen as lazy or indulgent. Research has shown that there’s an abundance of benefits, from boosting our brain and mental health right through to increasing alertness, improving our mood and jump starting our creativity…the list goes on. So it seems that taking a nap isn’t just about catching up on sleep but a way to improve the quality of our days which in turn must make us healthier and happier – right?
But, is there a right way to nap?
It turns out that there’s a bit of a science to taking a nap because you want to wake up feeling refreshed not blurry eyed and sleepier than before! To start with your nap needs to be a short snooze, you don’t want it to get out of hand and end up sleeping the afternoon away!
While it’s been said that a nap as short as 6 minutes can improve alertness, it’s generally agreed that 10 - 30 minutes works well with around 20 minutes being seen as the ideal length of time for a restful nap.
And, while we’re told that a good time to nap is between 1pm and 3pm, I think it’s important to find what works for you. I enjoy very early morning starts and so I’ve been known to nap before lunch because by then my concentration can be waning and a quick 15 minute rest helps me get on with the rest of my day. Remember that your nap has to fit into your day and so test what works best for you.
If you’re tempted to give this a try, then you’ll want to make the most of it – here are a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way…
- Try not to nap within 3 hours of your bedtime.
- Snuggle up somewhere comfortable and quiet if you can.
- Darken the room by drawing the curtains or closing the blinds.
- Put your phone on silent.
- Set an alarm to make sure that you wake up with 20 minutes.
I’m sure that a short nap here and there would be great for most of us – and they shouldn’t been seen as something that only children can benefit from. But, a nap shouldn’t really be a substitute for a good night’s rest. If you’re not getting enough quality rest in the evening then here are a few tips to help you power down and sleep more easily.
If you still need a bit of convincing then I encourage you to give it a try for 7 days and see how you feel - I’m sure you’ll be surprised at the difference it can make to how you feel, I know that I was.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.