Within the realm of sleep, napping is a hot topic, so we felt this tip deserved its own couple of paragraphs and tips. It follows on from our first post on “sleep” that can be found here.
If it’s possible (and most of the time it is) we really recommend it. Why? Well, napping has been shown to put you into the cycles of sleep that you are most deficient in. For example, if you stayed up late watching late night poker and missed out on some deep sleep (the stage of sleep that happens earlier in the night) then a nap in the afternoon will ensure you jump straight into the deep sleep cycle. In summary, it irons out your sleep deficiencies and stops the build-up of “sleep pressure”.
Like most of the things we talk about at Optimal Movement, napping does take practice so we’ve put together some tips to get you on your way to becoming a professional napper!
Nap time tips:
- Create a napping opportunity – the bright lights within an office environment can confuse your body into thinking it doesn’t need a nap. Create a positive environment that enables a solid nap to take place – in the car, in the park, under a tree (the more natural the better).
- If you struggle to nap, try using white noise. There are plenty of apps that can be downloaded (even some with different types of rain noise!) This can be used as a cue for napping.
- Do not be concerned that your nap will negatively affect your ability to fall asleep later on that night. There is nothing to support this old wives’ tale.
- Waking from a nap feeling groggy does not mean you should not nap. That feeling is likely to be a result of you spending the vast majority of your nap in the deep sleep cycles which actually means the nap was highly necessary.
- Nap whenever you need to, especially if you feel like sleep pressure is building. Discipline yourself to step back from what you are currently engaged in for a few minutes. You will notice the increase in cognitive performance.
- 20 minutes is a good starting point and, even within this short time, your body can go into “repair mode”
In summary, napping’s effect can be fantastic in terms of both cognitive and physical performance. We understand that your daily life may seem to restrict a napping opportunity, but we hope we’ve proven over the last two posts why it can be beneficial to find just 20 minutes to re-calibrate your brain.
Everyone should be able to find a brief period of time to create a napping opportunity (Albert Einstein and Aristotle were well known for napping very frequently!) and we believe, once it becomes part of your routine, you’ll be left wondering why you tried to fight the urge in the first place!