Why You Should Perfect the Art of the Afternoon Nap
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Many of us are living multifaceted lives in which we take on multiple roles. It’s easy to let responsibilities pile up, and sometimes we can fall into the trap of time-managing our way out of a good night’s sleep. For those who relate, here are a few reasons why you should add naps as a tool in your arsenal for improved efficiency in completing your daily tasks.
Signs You Are Sleep-Deprived:
Sleep deprivation shows itself through a variety of symptoms throughout the day, and can quickly make everyday tasks more difficult, and sometimes more dangerous, for you than they need to be. If you’re sleep-deprived, then you’re likely to have a hard time staying awake during the day. You may feel physically exhausted and unmotivated to address your responsibilities and commitments. Sleep deprivation can have negative effects on your attention span, energy levels, decision-making, memory, and even your mood causing you to be more irritable, anxious, and stressed out. Chronic lack of sleep can even escalate to affecting your biological health eventually, putting you at risk for pain and discomfort that can further worsen your sleep habits. Deciding to include napping in your arsenal of self-care tactics can be a great asset to you as you go through the motions of day-to-day life. Watch this video from Sleep Is the Foundation to learn more.
The Benefits of Napping:
- Alertness: If the duration of your nap lasts either 20 minutes or 90 minutes (the beginning and end of an average sleep cycle) you’re likely to awake during a lighter phase of sleep. This will allow you to transition back to consciousness smoother than it would be otherwise. If you aren’t careful about the timing of your nap, you run the risk of having to fight your way out of deep sleep instead.
- Attitude: If you find yourself sleepy to the point where you’re cranky and irritable, a nap may be beneficial for helping you regain some patience. You’re not yourself when you’re running on fumes. Give yourself some time to rest so you can tackle your day without frustrations threatening to push you to your limit.
- Memory: While you sleep, your brain takes the time to fully absorb the information you’ve gathered during the day. This allows that information to be incorporated into your working memory, which is what you utilize when you make your own connections and participate in all the forms of problem-solving you need to do in life.
Tips on Napping:
As you take this information and go forth on your professional napping journey, there are a few more things that would be beneficial for you to remember:
Schedule naps ahead of time. It may be helpful to schedule your naps ahead of time if you find yourself in need of a nap often. Setting the time aside will also allow you to prep your napping scene. This way you’ll have the ‘what’, ‘when’, and ‘where’ handled so you won’t have to worry about answering those questions if the time comes around and you’re exhausted. A Weighted Blanket works wonders for a fruitful nap or for a full night’s sleep. They can provide a comfortable and cozy experience for you as you rest which is especially helpful if you are in a time crunch and need to fall asleep quickly. It’s also best if you take your naps earlier in the afternoon rather than later so as not to interfere with your ability to get a full night’s sleep.
Create a comfortable environment. The number of things capable of disrupting your sleep is numerous but manageable. You want to make sure that your environment is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. This Sunrise Alarm/Sound Machine will help you both go to sleep and wake up. It doubles as a sound machine and an alarm, simultaneously keeping you well-rested while decreasing the risk of oversleeping. While the alarm aspect is helpful for keeping you on a sleep schedule, sound machines also work great for providing white noise to cancel out distracting or random noises if you find yourself having to sleep in a not-so-quiet space. It’s important to make sure that your sleeping space is inviting so that you are less likely to avoid it.
Continue to get a good night’s rest. It’s important to note that naps will not fully compensate for overall sleep deprivation. A good night’s sleep provides important restoration that we need to function at our full capacity. A nap is great if you need to play a quick game of catch-up, but if your lack of sleep is chronic it may be best for you to turn to other methods to improve your sleeping habits. Sleepytime Tea is great to include as a part of your night-time routine. It will be supportive if your goal is to reach deeper levels of sleep during the night, or if you need help feeling sleepy enough to go to bed.
Regularly being sleep deprived can very easily lead to inconvenient, if not dangerous, situations for you. Having effects on both your mind and body, it really is in your best interest to make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of rest. For those of you whose schedule may not be so gracious in allowing time for your recommended 8 hours, perfecting the art of napping can prove to be very beneficial to you if you do it right. Keep in mind the importance of timing and environmental conditions and you’re bound to be successful in reaching your sleep goals and optimizing your own productivity. There are a number of useful tools out there that can help you greatly in creating the most comfortable and customized setting for you to get the rest you need to be your optimal self.
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