23 Jun How to Take the Best Nap
Who doesn’t like a little daytime nap from time to time? But did you know napping can be both helpful and harmful depending on a few different factors, such as your age, what time and how long you nap. To get the most benefit from napping, it’s important to learn how each of these factors affects the impact of a nap and the best way to go about it.
Benefits of Napping
There are many benefits for having a daytime nap. When done properly there’s nothing wrong with taking a nap. In fact, a short siesta can boost your mental and physical health. A short nap can promote:
Better cognition: Taking a power nap leaves you feeling more alert. In turn, your brain should function more efficiently. Research has shown that naps reduce the level of adenosine in the brain. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and plays a role in cognition.
Improved memory: Naps may promote memory consolidation (the process where our brain turns information into a long-term memory). A good nap right after learning something new appears to help us retain that information.
Boosted immunity: Although you should keep washing your hands and practicing physical distancing, especially during these challenging COVID times, regular napping may help your immune system. Sleep deprivation increases the release of pro-inflammatory markers and causes immunodeficiency. Counteracting this with napping during the day for a period of several days can improve the immune system and cellular function.
However, napping isn’t for everyone. In fact, some people find napping counterproductive. Although reducing sleep pressure can combat fatigue, it can also interfere with your ability to fall asleep at bedtime.
So here are a few key steps to take that will set you up for your most successful nap.
Set an alarm: Studies show that the best nap length for most people is about 10-20 minutes. This provides restorative sleep without drowsiness after waking. If you want to feel alert and productive after your nap, you can counter sleep inertia by limiting the amount of time you spend asleep.
Nap early: Napping late in the day can affect your ability to fall asleep at bedtime. Try napping around the halfway point between the time you wake up and the time you plan to go to bed.
Create a sleep-friendly environment: To fall asleep, your space should be conducive to napping. Depending on where you are, you may or may not have a comfortable mattress available, but it helps to nap in a comfortable space that is dark, cool, and quiet.
Set aside your worries: Ruminating on sources of stress will keep you awake. If you’re having trouble letting go of concerns and to-do lists, try practicing relaxation exercises. These can help you fall asleep and wake from your nap feeling refreshed and recharged.
Reflect on why you’re napping: Think about what you hope to gain from your nap. When you set intentions, you can plan your nap around those goals.
If you’re feeling a little run down and overwhelmed, try taking a short nap during the day. Even better, our salt rooms are the perfect place and environment to give it a go. It’s a match made in salty haven.