Many of us have trouble getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night. Luckily, research studies of napping and sleep tips suggest that supplementing 5-7 hours of nighttime sleep with daytime naps can be even more beneficial to your health than getting a full 8 hours all at once. Everybody is different, but as long as you find a way to regularly get 7-9 hours of sleep each day, you can most likely operate at full capacity. Plus, sleeping during the day can feel like a luxurious treat that breaks up the daily routine. Who wouldn’t want more of that?
For some of us, though, sleep—especially during the day—is elusive. Here are some sleep tips to help you round up some more winks.
Sleep Tip #1: Find the Perfect Nap Time
Dr. Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap!, developed a nap wheel that helps determine the time of day when your REM and slow-wave sleep patterns will be most complementary, based on the time you woke up in the morning. For instance, someone who wakes up at 7:00 a.m. will have their most balanced nap at 2:00 p.m.
Sleep Tip #2: There is a difference between a quick snooze, and sleep.
One of the most important sleep tips is to limit the length of your naps. Shorter naps yield the most benefits without adversely affecting your nighttime sleep or your ability to think straight after waking up. NASA conducted a sleep study on weary pilots and astronauts, discovering that a 26-minute power nap improved performance by 34 percent and alertness by 54 percent.
However, if it takes you a little longer to drift off, you might want to block off a few extra minutes.
Sleep Tip #3: Find a “Comfy Enough” Spot
The best way to ensure your nap doesn’t last too long but still gets you some deep REM and slow-wave sleep action is to nap in a place that is free of distractions but is not too sleep-inducing. If you work at home and retreat to your bed, you might end up conking out for longer than intended because your body associates that spot with nighttime sleep. Your couch or a chair could be more nap-friendly.
If you’re out at work, finding the perfect place to sleep can be more difficult. You could use your car in a safe, quiet parking garage, but a better choice might be a sleep pod at your local Nap Bar. Some companies have nap rooms for their employees, but a pay-by-the-snooze nap bar makes it easy for anyone to reserve their favorite sleep space at the perfect time for their sleep cycle and schedule. You can also walk in and see what is available if you’re in the middle of an unexpected midday slump. Either way, at a nap bar, you can control the lighting and the comfort level to ensure you get those sweet Zs for exactly the right amount of time.
Sleep Tip #4: Drink Coffee Immediately Before Napping
It sounds counterintuitive to drink coffee right before sleep, but Dr. James B. Maas points out that caffeine takes about 20 minutes to absorb into the body. If you drink some coffee or tea immediatelybefore closing your eyes, that caffeinated burst of energy should kick in just about when it’s time for you to wake up, enhancing the energy boost from your nap and ensuring you don’t sleep for too long.
Sleep Tip #5: Enjoy the Benefits of Simply Slowing Down and Staying Quiet
If you have a hard time going to sleep during the day, naps might not be for you, but you could still benefit from quiet time or a brief meditation. Even if you simply shut your eyes, relax, and breathe deeply for 10 minutes, you will probably experience enhanced concentration and energy after your “nap.”
Sleep Tip #6: Schedule Your Nap Time
Remember when you had a specific nap time in elementary school? Did you look forward to rolling your mat out? To the teacher dimming the lights? If naps work for you, schedule them in. Even if you can’t book a session at a local nap bar, figure out your perfect nap time and make appointments on your phone to remind yourself to find a quiet place to sleep or meditate. If it makes you feel good, make it a priority.
Put These Sleep Tips into Action
If you keep catching yourself dozing off in the middle of the day, perhaps it’s time to put these sleep tips to the test. Whether you need a timed power nap, or a period of quiet meditation, stop by the Nap Bar in Houston. You can book a session online or stop by first to see which nap pod is right for you.