Healthy Living: How To Maximize Napping

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Research has shown taking a nap during the day can be a great pick-me-up for more productive work and a happier life, whether working from an office or home. Here are six tips to help make the best of a short nap, boosting energy and focus for the rest of the day.

Not being a fan of caffeine, I've always found myself dragging through the workday, regardless of how much sleep I may or may not have had the night before. Adding a midday siesta to my own work schedule has worked wonders, not just for my productivity and work ethic, but also my general sense of well being. I no longer feeling bleh all day long and can personally attest to the power of a good nap.

The Week highlights 4 research-backed reasons why napping is good for everyone during the work day:

  1. Naps help you learn new information
  2. Naps make you more productive
  3. Naps can give you a jolt of creativity
  4. Naps will make you more pleasant to be around

With science giving us all an excuse proven reasons for taking a short break during the day, here are a few suggestions and tips to maximize scheduled naps into a productivity booster.

Stay away from the bedroom

The bedroom is normally associated with nighttime sleeping, so taking naps in bed can make it difficult to wake up, especially with extra comfy sheets. It's therefore recommended to take naps on the couch, in a chair, or anywhere else besides the bedroom. Besides, who wants to get the sheets dirty while sleeping in work attire?


Don't nap too early or too late
Psychology Today suggests napping between 1pm and 3pm. Try napping too early and our bodies may not be ready for slumber, while napping too late might interfere with falling asleep at night, compounding the problem of lack of sleep (one of the reasons people feel the need for naps in the first place).

Keep it short
The National Sleep Foundation recommends short naps of 20 to 30 minutes to improve short-term alertness without waking up groggy or messing up our ability to sleep at night. Harvard suggests 30 to 60 minutes, cautioning not to sleep any longer so as not to fall into deep sleep and making it difficult to wake up.

Put away the tech
Aside from an alarm to avoid oversleeping, it's highly recommended to put away phones and set them to silent mode. E-mail notifications, text messages, and other noises can prevent anyone from falling asleep peacefully.

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Stay away from caffeine
Many of us chug tons of coffee in the morning to wake us up. That same caffeine is going to make it harder to nap in the afternoon. About.com explains caffeine has a half-life of four to six hours, meaning drinkers will still be battling the effects of morning joe when they're trying to take a nap later. While attempting to integrate nap time into a work schedule, try skipping the traditional morning coffee and let the upcoming nap be motivation for a few hours of solid work.

Happy napping!
According to the American Psychological Association, "three-quarters of Americans list work as a significant source of stress." Forget about work and responsibilities during scheduled short nap periods. It doesn't do anyone good for health or work productivity operating under unnecessary stress.

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(Images: Shutterstock/Helder AlmeidaShutterstock/wavebreakmedia)