How to Nap Like a Champ
Updated: Jan 20, 2019
You may be thinking, really, someone needs to tell me how to nap?! Everyone responds to napping differently. So keep reading to learn what kind of nap will work best for you. (Hint, it might be the coffee nap! Have you heard of that one?)
Some people don't believe in napping. Or they're worried it will keep them from sleeping at night. But I'm sure you know that most of the world takes a break after lunch for a nap. Called a siesta. Or in America, we call it a snooze. Or a respite. Or forty winks.
It makes sense to nap after lunch because that's when we have a natural dip in our daily circadian rhythm. Eating lots of carbohydrates for lunch will magnify that drowsiness. That's probably why you crave a cup of coffee or a sweet treat in the early afternoon to get through the rest of your work day. But what your body could really use is a nap!
Benefits of Napping
There are so many benefits to napping. Taking a nap can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. What a relaxing way to improve your mood, too! And people who nap regularly retain more information and can recover better from burnout or brain overload. Naps also boost creativity, reduce stress, improve perception, stamina, motor skills and accuracy, enhance your sex life, aid in weight loss, and reduce the risk of heart attack.
Phew! Typing out all those benefits makes me tired and excited to take a nap!
Famous nappers include Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush.
3 Kinds of Naps
First, there's the power nap. This would be a quick 20 minute nap. During the power nap, you will fall into the first 2 stages of sleep. But you won't have enough time to enter stage 3, or deep sleep. Give yourself about 30 minutes for this nap because it usually takes 10 or so minutes to actually fall asleep. The power nap is perfect after lunch in the middle of your work day when you need to focus for the rest of the afternoon.
A longer nap, or restorative nap, would be 60-90 minutes long. You'll enter deep sleep during this nap. You want to give yourself time to wake up naturally. If you don't, you'll wake up groggy and disoriented because your deep sleep has been interrupted. The restorative nap is great for when you didn't get enough sleep the night before and you need to catch up. While napping isn't a good substitute for continually missing sleep at night, it can help make a dent in
And then there's the coffee nap! To take this kind of nap, you want to drink a cup of coffee as quickly as you can. (It helps if it's lukewarm instead of steaming hot!) Then lie down for 30 minutes and take a nap. It takes your body about 30 minutes to process the caffeine. So it should kick in right about when you wake up. The coffee nap works well when you know you have to be alert and focused after your nap. So if you feel drowsy while driving or you have a big presentation in the afternoon, drink a cup of coffee, take a short nap, and wake up raring to go!
1. Time your nap at least 4-5 hours before bedtime to make sure you can still sleep at night.
2. Set an alarm for 30 minutes if you are taking a power nap so you don't fall into a deep sleep and wake up dazed and confused.
3. Make sure you are napping at the right time. Early afternoon around 2pm is when the natural circadian rhythm dip happens for most people.
4. Avoid sugar and caffeine before you want to nap (unless you're going for the coffee nap!)
Most people who say they can't nap or either trying to nap at the wrong time of day. Or they're consuming too much sugar and caffeine that's preventing them from falling asleep.
It may take a little bit of experimenting to figure out how napping works best for you. After insomnia during pregnancy and then having a baby, I've got my napping down pat. I can easily take a short nap in the early afternoon (while my son is napping). And I wake up naturally after about 30 minutes and feel so rejuvenated!
If you're constantly trying to make up for not sleeping well at night by taking naps, life doesn't have to be that way! I help health- conscious professionals overcome their sleep challenges naturally so they can feel their best every day. You can schedule a free Sleep Breakthrough call with me to learn the 3 things that are causing your insomnia and the 1 thing you can do to sleep better every night and wake up every morning feeling refreshed and ready to start your day.
“A day without a nap is like a cupcake without frosting.” — Terri Guillemets