Counting Sheep: How to Take the Perfect Nap

February 3rd, 2014 by The JetSetter Team | 1 Comment »

JS0110At some point during our lives, naps transition from something we hate to take to something we’d give our left leg to take. Luckily, science backs up our sleepy inclination. 85% of mammals take naps, and most of them don’t even have 40 hour per week jobs!

If you want to take the perfect nap (Jason Hartman is asleep right now!) follow our how-to guide and look forward to increased productivity, a better attitude, and a more relaxed outlook.

First, allow yourself the opportunity to take a nap. We often tell ourselves that we’re too old or that we don’t need it. In an effort to convince ourselves that it isn’t an effective use of our time, we miss out on nap benefits, which include reduced sleepiness, restored energy, improved cognitive ability, sharper motor skills, a decrease in mistakes and accidents, a better mood, and eased premenstrual symptoms. Nap away!

Next, work to find your ideal nap time. You don’t want to sleep so early that your nap isn’t fully utilized, but you also don’t want to nap so late that you’re unable to sleep at night. For most people, sometime between 1 pm and 3 pm is best, right in that early afternoon slump that happens after lunch. During this time, most people experience a decrease of energy and overall alertness, so why not utilize your time to increase productivity later?

Finding a place to nap will be your next step, obviously. While a bed or couch is the best place, a sitting nap is better than no nap. Try and find a comfortable place to at least lay down your head. If necessary, wear an eye mask and use ear plugs to create a comfortable environment. Find a pillow and a light blanket, some ear phones with soothing music if that’s your thing. Keep the temperature (if it’s within your control) warm but not too warm, which can cause oversleeping.

Begin preparing for your comfortable and alert awakening by having a caffeinated beverage right before you doze off—it takes twenty to thirty minutes to work its way through your system and make you alert. That being said, plan your nap to take between ten and twenty minutes—longer naps will cause you to be groggy and disoriented for a while after you’re awake. Ten or so minutes will boost alertness and performance. Plus, you can fit them into your lunch break.

Finally, don’t stress out if you don’t fall asleep during your naptime. Studies show that brief periods of relaxation, sleep or not, are good for you, even causing a drop in blood pressure. So embrace your inner child and catch a few extra minutes of sweet, sweet sleep.
(http://www.flickr.com/photos/grafixer/3600198988/)

 

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