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Holy Nap: A Guide to Navigating the Greatest Mid-Day Snooze

August 1, 2019 kitkuebler

Holy Nap: A Guide to Navigating the Greatest Mid-Day Snooze

August 1, 2019 Kit Kuebler
Benefits of napping, the best time to nap

Holy Nap! How is it only 12 pm, and I still have more than half the day to go?!  I already want to curl up in my favorite pajama set and fall asleep to Jim and Pam’s wedding episode of The Office for the hundredth time (this month). 

Having similar issues of feeling tired way too early in your day? Struggling to keep your eyes open? Or maybe you can only relate to the binge watching The Office part… in that case, I send you on your way as a completely ordinary millennial.

But if you are struggling with the sand man then take a few minutes now to fluff your pillow because I‘m about to set you up with the greatest nap of your life!

 1 – Timing is everything.

The time you wake up determines the best time you should nap at. Check out this nap wheel that shows the time of day where your Rapid Eye Movement and Slow-Wave Sleep are the most balanced thus being the time you would receive the most nap benefits! Overall, between 1 pm and 4 pm is the best time to catch your ZZZs because it’s typically the furthest point from bedtime and the dreaded morning alarm.

*fun fact: the caffeine in coffee doesn’t typically set in until 15-20 minutes after drinking it. Therefore timing a cup right before your brief nap can create an extra fueled wake up. I know, coffee and sleep co-existing? Just another whoa moment in the life of Kit.

2 – There is too much of a good thing.

Surprisingly enough, a shorter nap can do a whole lot more for us than we give it credit, even if it’s only for 10 or 20 minutes a day. In fact, those kinds of naps are typically more beneficial! They often result in waking up more alert and refreshed, thus improving your mood and learning abilities. Not to mention, with this short snooze, you probably won’t get in trouble with your boss!

On the flip-side, napping for 30-60 minutes starts to put you into “deep sleep mode,” which means your brain waves get slower. When you sleep for this amount of time, you enter your sleep-cycle but aren’t able to complete it. Therefore when you wake up from this nap, you can feel tired and disoriented. This is better known around town as the nap hangover.

If you’re lucky enough to get 90 minutes to dedicate to a nap then you’re already a nap master and should probably be writing this blog instead of me! But anyways, 90 minutes is an awesome amount of time to nap for because your body will most likely have enough time to perform a full sleep-cycle resulting in a totally rejuvenated wake up! This one might be good to accomplish on a weekend when you have more time.

 3 – Location. Location. Location.

Setting yourself up for your nap is crucial. Find a dark and quiet place where you can get comfortable. 60-68 degrees is the most ideal temperature to sleep in because your body produces melatonin at these temps. If the location is familiar, you are likely to fall asleep faster, and choosing a consistent time in the day to nap will also make for an easier transition. 

4 – Don’t put yourself in a bad position.

Proper form is necessary in achieving the perfect nap. Don’t worry practice makes perfect. Sleeping on your back is referred by many to be the best position to sleep in because it aligns your body by keeping your neck and spine neutral and your body weight even. It also prevents wrinkles because you aren’t putting pressure on you face or smooshing it up against your pillow.

However, side sleeping is the most common position ­– and my personal favorite – but is there a side that is better to sleep on? Yes!

Some studies show that sleeping on the left side helps with digestion, draining the lymphatic system, circulation, and heart health.

Finally, stomach sleeping has the reputation of being the worst position to sleep in. This is because it interferes with your backs normal curve and causes back pain. It also puts strain on your neck by sleeping with your head turned to one side.

Above all though, finding the position that is most comfortable for you is what’s most important here!

Now that we have the basics of good napping down, it’s time for me to turn out the light to this blog and tuck you in to your midday slumber. So grab your favorite stuffed animal that you’re definitely not too old to have and get to it! And, hey, if this blog was so boring that it made you fall asleep already… then technically, I’m still doing my job here!

Sweet dreaming!

Kit Kuebler

Kit is a black belt in day dreaming and loving life. She is an intern and patient at Roswell Park and is constantly growing her happy and healthy through her passion for the arts, yoga practice, and time spent with friends and family outdoors. She is currently working on staying in the present.

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