- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Getting a Good Nap: How It Is Done by People Who Are Doing It
There are good naps and then there are bad naps. You know the difference not so much when you are actually sleeping as when you wake up. A good nap will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to continue on with your day. A bad nap will leave you groggy, achy and eager for more sleep. So how do you get a good nap and avoid a bad nap?
Here are some tips for how to get a good nap:
- Make sure that you are napping because you need a nap. Many people think that they are tired when actually their body is trying to tell them something else entirely. People sometimes don't need more sleep but may actually need exercise, water or food. If you need something other than a nap, the nap won't do you any good so check in with yourself and make sure that a nap is actually what you need.
- Get comfortable. If at all possible, nap in your own bed. If you're in a place where you can't nap in your bed, you should find the most comfortable place possible to catch your zzz's. Napping in uncomfortable positions such as chairs and desks will only cause your body to ache, not give it the rest it needs. If you regularly nap away from home, consider investing in a yoga mat and soft pillow that can be transported with you to enjoy comfortable napping anywhere. If at all possible, change into pajamas or at least more comfortable clothing to really maximize your comfort.
- Drown out the world. A good nap is hard to achieve during the day because there is so much light and noise in people's normal waking hours. To get a good nap, you need to create an environment that is as much like nighttime as possible. You should invest in an eye mask and ear plugs and use them even though it might feel silly. It should go without saying that phones and other distractions be turned off until the nap is done.
- Commit to the nap. Many people kind of doze in and out of their naps because they've got the rest of the day on their minds. Allow yourself to indulge in the nap and forget the worries. You can take care of them when you wake up. And if you get good rest, you'll be better equipped to do so!
- If possible, don't wake up to an alarm. If you're in a position where you can nap until you naturally wake up, you're going to get a much more complete and refreshing nap than if you wake up to an alarm at a certain time. The alarm is jarring and can interrupt important parts of the sleep cycle. Of course, you don't want to oversleep during your nap, so if you do have to be somewhere, go ahead and set the alarm. But in the future, try to schedule things late enough in the afternoon and early enough in the morning that you can get in a full midday nap if you need one.
You don't have to nap for long to get refreshed. You just need to make sure that you get a good nap.