How to Make the Most of Your Nap

By: Rawan Khalil

We often make excuses to get under our duvets, on our bed sheets and to rest our heads on our dainty pillows. We’d say something like: “only half an hour mum!” OR “only today, I won’t nap tomorrow” etc. However, more than likely, that “the half an hour” turns into an hour or two or possibly longer. It’s totally humane to want a break midday to rest and to forget about all the work and problems in life. Is it healthy? Is it right? Is it wrong?

Scientifically speaking, humans are enlisted amongst those minority of mammals: 15% who are monophasic sleepers. This translates that we’re amongst the minority of mammals which have a sleeping pattern where we sleep for only one segment per day (most probably in the nighttime). Now, this means that when we nap we’re in a way defying nature. Ideally, we should sleep for 8-9 hours at night to ensure that we are full of energy in the morning and throughout the day, but due to our busy lives/lifestyle that barely ever happens, and we are becoming more and more sleep deprived.

Keeping that in mind, naps will never be enough to make up for exiguous hours of sleep. However, having a nap midday wouldn’t hurt anyone keeping in mind a few things:

Firstly, keep it short. 20-30 minutes. The national sleep foundation says: a short nap can help to improve mood, alertness and performance. Having a short nap will ensure that you don’t waste much of your day, and so you still have time for homeworks, studying, sitting with family, texting and whatever really you plan to do. Also, long naps have proven to make you wake up lazy and with barely any energy to work and be productive and thus, doing exactly the opposite of their purpose- the reason is that you start hitting the deeper stages of sleep resulting in your brain slowing down and all the other functions of your body.

Secondly, make it cozy. As in turn off the lights, play soft music for 5 minutes before you actually sleep then turn the music off and close the door to your room so the noise from the rest of the house is almost muted, then get under those covers.

Thirdly, set an alarm and wake up when it rings. If you do not set up an alarm there is a huge chance you will over-sleep and waste your entire day, and if you do not wake up when it rings you really shouldn’t have set it in the first place.

Other than all of that, try to have a fixed time for your nap everyday as in add it to your scheduled, make it part of your day. Maybe, yours would be after gym, or when you come back from school, or at 3pm. This type of napping is labelled habitual napping.

You can also drink coffee then nap for 20 minutes. Trust me I’m not crazy as caffeine takes around 20 minutes to do it’s magic and so you will wake up more alert than you’d have thought.

Lastly, when you wake up motivate yourself by maybe eating some chocolate or a bowl of salad, doing some yoga would help too, or maybe even going out for a run. You can try adding candles to your room/desk to create a breath of fresh air. Change your pyjamas and wear another pyjama to renew your energy or take a quick shower, whatever really but make the most out of your nap. And whatever you do remember, it doesn’t compensate for a night’s sleep!

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