How to Take the Best…Naps…Ever!

Napping Woman

Napping is the best, isn’t it? With life being as busy as it is, having the ability to slip away for a bit of bonus shuteye can put extra power in your step and keep your mind fresh.

That said, there is way more to napping than just shutting your eyes and zonking out. In fact, there are various strategies that could make such an experience even better for you than it already is.

Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal published an info-graphic that outlines when it’s best to take a nap; how to position yourself for a great rest; and even the pros and cons of various lengths of naps. The data was provided by an array of research firms and sleep experts.

Out of all naps, the 10-20-minute power nap is considered the most ideal “for a boost of alertness and energy.” These types of snoozes limit people to “lighter stages of non-rapid eye movement sleep,” thus making it easier for a person to wake up and “hit the ground running.” The next best option is the 90-minute nap, which is viewed as “a full cycle of sleep” because of its “lighter and deeper stages.”

By embarking upon on a 90-minute nap, your emotional and procedural memory (i.e. riding a bike) is said to improve, as well as your creativity. However, the best perk is that a nap this long “typically” avoids sleep inertia, thus making it is easier to rise from your slumber.

As for 30 or 60-minute naps, both have their perks, but generally result in more of a groggy feeling once the alarm goes off.

How about where should you nap? Well, if you don’t want to get into a deep sleep that may slow you down for the rest of the day, it is advised to get yourself into a slightly upright position, like a well-adjusted recliner or the passenger seat of a car. If you don’t care about how deep you go, couches, beds, or a flat open space will work.

What remains the biggest challenge is finding the right time to nap. Experts say this type of timing all depends on when a person wakes up in the morning and goes to bed. If a nap is taken too close to evening sack time, it can be tougher getting a good night’s sleep.

Furthermore, if you find yourself dreaming during a really short nap, you may very well be suffering from sleep deprivation. Thus, be careful about how late you stay up.

Research and expert recommendations aside, napping (when done right) can give you the glorious, natural jolt you need to roll through your day at a great pace. So, the next time you feel like a nap, just do it. The only people judging you are those too tired to think clearly anyways.

-Adam Grant

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