Can you tell I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately? It seems like I’m exhausted when I should be awake, but when I should be asleep, I can only sleep four or five hours at a time and then I’m wide awake again. To help myself get through the day, I’ve resorted to taking naps, but there is definitely a science behind taking one.
The first thing you’ll want to do is take notice of the time. Make sure it’s not too late in the day. If you nap four or five hours before your regular bedtime, you could end up disrupting your night’s sleep. Instead, try to plan your nap around the middle of the day when you’re likely to be at your sleepiest.
It’s possible that at the midpoint of your day, you’re likely still at work, as most of us are. Try to find some place that’s relatively quiet, dark, and where you can relax and put your feet up. The more comfortable you are, the more easily you will be able to fall asleep.
Taking a nap on your lunch break after you eat is a good idea because you’re not likely to oversleep since you have to be back to work at a set time. A nap of between 15 to 30 minutes should provide you with a boost to your overall mood and cognition. Sleep longer and you risk delving into REM sleep, which could ultimately lead you to feeling groggy or foggy after waking up rather than refreshed.
If napping is something you plan on doing often rather than only when you collapse from exhaustion, it’s important to make it a part of your daily routine. Try to nap around the same time each day and for the same amount of time. Napping at different times of the day, different days of the week, and for varying amounts of time could confuse your sleep pattern, leading to a disrupted and possibly sleepless night.