I know, how hard could it be? You just find a comfy place and check out for a while, right? On some levels, that can be true, however, a nap can be a true work of art if you really commit. In today’s society of always being on the go and forever checking off that mental “To Do” list, naps sometimes feel like an impossibility, a luxury we can’t afford, or a time for your kids when you can get some things done in silence.
This is a fallacy. Naps are definitely for adults, and we need them for the same reasons that we put children down to sleep for an hour or two. Sometimes we need that mental and physical “time out” to keep from being cranky, over tired, stressed, etc. Sleep makes everything better.
I am blessed with not requiring much sleep. I can function on very little for a few days if I need to, and don’t require much recovery time. This especially helped in college! However, I absolutely love a good nap. There is nothing better than taking a shower and laying down naked on cool sheets to sleep for an hour before you have to go out for the night. Lazy Saturday afternoons when it’s rainy or cold are a great time to snuggle in with your partner or your kids and nap together for a while to recharge your batteries. And who doesn’t love a good nap on the beach in the sun?
Wherever and however you nap, here’s a few tips to get the best nap you can…
- Don’t sleep for hours – The average time for beneficial shut eye is between 20 – 90 minutes. This doesn’t mean you can’t sleep for longer, but you don’t want to spend 3 hours on the couch because you will have a hard time sleeping later at night when you really want to. My sister is notorious for taking power naps. She goes outside at work on nice days, sets her alarm on her phone and sleeps for 20 minutes on the picnic bench at her break. She has the right idea. A mid afternoon nap can give you great benefits like increased alertness, focus, and mood.
- Pick a comfortable place – This can be wherever is good for you. The bedroom, the couch, a hammock, your car, whatever. It also depends on where you are and how much time you have. If I’m home, a nice nap on the couch works most times. I find that I often sleep too long if I actually nap in bed. In any case, just make sure you will be comfy and able to relax.
- Enjoy it – Don’t lay down and keep thinking of all the things you have to do. First of all, you won’t go to sleep that way, and second it’s not going to help anyone. We all need sleep and if you are going to commit to a nap, go all the way. Don’t feel bad about it later, don’t beat yourself up over not doing the dishes, and don’t complain that you could have been cleaning out the car. Taking care of ourselves is one of the best things we can do for us and for those around us. If you need a little rest to make your head stop rotating like the poltergeist, then just go lay down and do it. Everyone you run into that day will thank you and the dishes will get done eventually. I promise.