A lot of us feel guilty at the thoughts of taking a nap. It feels like skiving off and that napping is only ok for young children and babies. In actual fact, taking 20mins of self care and having some shut eye will give you so much more than simply the reward of doing something relaxing for yourself.
Sleep research has shown that taking a nap has a number of benefits and not just for the little ones. Reduced fatigue is one of the main benefits and can be of crucial importance. For example if you experience drowsiness when performing long drives, the best thing you can do is to pull over and have a 10 minute sleep. Napping can also help in one’s day to day work tasks, improving one’s memory and increasing creativity and performance including a quicker reaction time. It is usually the increase in alertness that leads us to bring ourselves to take a nap. One of the benefits that often goes overlooked after taking a nap is the actual fact of being in a better mood for the day. Who doesn’t need that? Plus your work colleagues or loved ones will benefit too.
There can be, however, drawbacks to having a nap. Some of us will actually wake up grumpy after a nap and are better served going to bed early and getting a solid night sleep each night instead of taking a daytime nap. Another drawback can be not being able to fall asleep at night, particularly if you have had a nap a little later in the afternoon. It is a personal experience and everyone should find their own ‘best sleep practice’. If you do experience fatigue that just won’t shake, even with more naps and solid night’s sleep, it would be best to talk with your doctor to figure out what the issue is.
The best way to take a nap:
- Keep it short. A 20 minute nap should be the longest time you should nap for during the day. Longer than this can lead to waking up groggier than you went to sleep (and possibly grumpier, most counter productive).
- Have a coffee just before a power nap. Caffeine takes approx. 10 minutes to kick in so for the double wake up boost, have a coffee right before a power nap so you get the caffeine hit upon waking. This is especially beneficial for tired drivers - pull into a service station, drink a quick coffee, set your alarm and get 10 minutes shut eye in the car before you recommence your journey.
- Take a nap early in the afternoon to avoid having trouble falling asleep at night
- Have a restful environment. If possible enjoy your nap in a quiet, dark room.
My go-to way to fall asleep quickly is using our mulberry silk eye mask which blocks out the light while the padding is, what customers have described as, 'a hug for your eyes', sending you to the land of nod in no time. The benefits of sleeping on silk are numerous and mulberry silk pillowcases are wisely known for their benefits to your skin and hair. The temperature regulating quality of silk is exceptional, hence, sleeping on silk, and using a silk eye mask, will aid your daily power nap immeasurably.
Although napping isn’t for everyone, and can be very hard to fit in around work and daily chores but a vast number of us would be all the better if we allowed ourselves 20 minutes shut eye during the day. So take the time for yourself and enjoy all the benefits, guilt free.