Afternoon nap: why is it needed and how to learn to rest during the day

Afternoon nap: why is it needed and how to learn to rest during the day

Many suffer from poor sleep. For example, the 2023 study notes that more than 8,000 participants slept on average less than six hours per night, less than in 2022 and 2021. Almost half of those surveyed also noted that the quality of their sleep had worsened.

Anyone who has ever suffered from a sleep disorder knows how much sleep deprivation affects your well-being. In addition to feeling tired, losing concentration, and craving unhealthy foods, regular poor quality sleep can affect your overall health, lead to heart problems, and increase your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Although most people didn’t take regular naps until childhood, experts believe that with the right approach, a siesta, or power nap, can be an effective health booster. Taking a break in the middle of the workday improves cognitive function, reboots memory, restores concentration and productivity, and reduces the feeling of fatigue.

At the same time, although daytime sleep helps solve temporary problems, it cannot replace a full night’s sleep.

What is the best time to sleep during the day?

For maximum results, it is important to adhere to the “golden rules of sleep.” Do not try to fall asleep later than 15:00 as this may affect your night’s sleep. The best time to take a nap is after lunch, when most people feel tired due to low blood sugar levels.

The duration of daytime sleep is also important. At night, during sleep, we go through several cycles, each lasting about 90 minutes and consisting of four stages. The first two stages are light sleep, which makes up the majority of sleep and is vital for learning and motor skills. Then comes deep sleep, which is necessary to improve immunity, relax the brain and restore muscles. The final stage is REM sleep, which is associated with memory, dreams and creativity and helps recharge the body with energy.

During daytime sleep, it is best to stay in the first two cycles and wake up before the third stage occurs. Otherwise, when you wake up, you will feel groggy and disoriented, since it is much more difficult to physically wake up during the deep sleep phase. Therefore, for best results, set the alarm for 15-20 minutes.

How to choose a place

Those working from home will have no problem finding a suitable place to lie down, but office workers may face a challenge. Therefore, when choosing a place, it is important that it be free of people and gadgets. You can bring earplugs and a sleep mask to create silence and darkness. Then the body realizes that it is time to sleep. Pay attention to the temperature in the room: it should be fresh, but not cold.

How to improve daytime sleep

A short meditation or breathing practice before your nap will help you get out of work mode and move into a more relaxed state. One study found that white noise helped 38% of those surveyed fall asleep faster. It’s also a good idea to drink coffee before relaxing. Caffeine takes about 20-40 minutes to start working in the body, which is why we feel more alert after a nap. But you shouldn’t drink coffee six to eight hours before bed, it will cause problems.

After a nap

As soon as the alarm clock rings, get up immediately. To get your body back into daytime mode, it’s best to get outside into daylight as soon as possible. If this is not possible, rinsing your face with cold water or soaking your hands in the sink will instantly activate your sympathetic nervous system and help you perk up. If you feel a little slow and sluggish after sleep, try gentle stretching, walking, or listening to up-tempo music to get you back into action.