Sometimes I over-do my daily nap, especially when the depression is really bad. On normal or good days though, power naps renew my patience and mood. This is especially helpful for the “dinner rush” when everyone seems to be busy, needy, grumpy and ‘hangry.’ Napless evenings tend to be more stressful for everyone, and my family is famous for responding to the stress by saying “sorry, I’m just tired. I pulled an all-dayer today.” I’ve made it a routine to get my self-care nap almost every day so I can walk into the battle of dinner time as prepared as possible. Since I’m now a professional napper, here are my tips to make the most of your power nap!
5. Choose the right place.
It may be tempting to crawl back into bed- especially in the winter- but reserving the bed specifically for nighttime sleep has been shown to provide better quality overnight sleep. Instead, opt for the couch or easy chair.. Or if you’re lucky, on a beach towel in the summer.
4. Make your nap space distraction- free.
Since you’re making the most out of a mere 20-30 minutes, make them quality minutes. Choose a quiet space that’s cool and comforting. Avoid spaces with blue screen lights such as TVs, computer monitors and cell phones.
The best time of day to nap is between noon and 3pm. (for a typical bedtime of 10p-midnight.) Sleeping after 3pm can hinder your ability to fall asleep at night.
The ideal power nap is 20-30 minutes. Set an alarm, and resist the temptation to snooze. Naps longer than 30 minutes can put you into a deep sleep, making it harder to wake and rendering the nap counter productive.
Most caffeine, like a cup of coffee, takes about 20 minutes to kick in. Having a cup of joe right before your power nap will give you an extra boost when you wake up.
Take some self care time to recharge today. If you aren’t able to nap, try a short meditation podcast or some mindful breathing- anything to rest and restore to get you through your afternoon.