Having a daytime nap is something we associate usually with babies, toddlers and for the rest of us when we are on holiday somewhere sunny ( we can dream)- most of us are just too busy right?
As most of us as not getting enough sleep at night, is a daytime nap just the thing to help us get more rest and feel better?
Yes-clearly, there is not always the opportunity to do this-but if you find 20 minutes in your day, maybe instead of checking your phone or ‘getting jobs done’, having a lie down and getting some shut eye might be the best way to power us through to bedtime.
There is clear evidence that napping can be good for our brain in terms of mental sharpness, memory, and mood*
How to nap effectively and for how long?
If you do have the chance to nap during the day and feel you might benefit from it, timing is everything
Too close to bed time and it will disrupt your sleep routine at night so think about early afternoon as siesta time
You don’t have to lie down- a reclining chair or somewhere dark is enough
A quiet environment and perhaps a blanket or a sleep mask ( a Noggin Favourite!) can help you nod off.
Listening to relaxing music or a short meditation might help too.
How long should you nap for?
Different benefits can be gained from different times:
Even 10-20 minutes can be enough to help with concentration, improve mood an energy as well as reface stress
30-60 minutes has been shown to help with memory and decision making
60-90 minutes takes you into REM phase of sleep which can help with creativity, and can help with problem solving
A Nap Must Do
Set an alarm! All benefits of a nap can we quickly eliminated if you wake up having missed an important appointment or child pick up.
And if you do hit the snooze during the day, or sleep for longer than 20-30 minutes, you can wake up with an initially feeling of grogginess or jet lat where you temporarily feel worse than you did pre nap. It will pass but can leave you feeling a bit out of sorts for a few minutes !
If you are looking for ways to nod off after noon, www.calm.com offers timed daytime nap stories.
Dr Clara Russell