6 Steps to a Killer Cat Nap


photo credit: Alex Pavlou

photo credit: Alex Pavlou

I can’t say enough about naps. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. Ok maybe I may be a little obsessed. But here’s why. After my morning cup of coffee, I just don’t want any more caffeine during the day. It just doesn’t appeal to me. And yes, like you I do get to a point during the day when I just run out of steam. So, when that happens I find a little power nap, just 20 minutes or so, has a way of making me feel rejuvenated without the same crash effect you get once the buzz from a cup of coffee or a candy bar wear off. I also find that naps are a great way of letting your body recover from stress and fatigue. But you don’t need to believe me. Everywhere you look there are articles and research on sleep that shows we are more creative, productive, and more focused when we get rest. – Even when we don’t actually fall asleep!

So I know you’re probably thinking, that sounds great but I don’t have time for a nap. You don’t have 20 minutes? I guarantee you waste more than 20 minutes on Facebook during the day. Why not steal some of that time back? And I know, some of you will complain that you don’t like to nap because you wake up feeling groggy and grumpy. I get that. But that’s because you probably slept too long! Many sleep researchers say that 20 minutes is a great amount of time. Just enough to have you feeling refreshed but not so long that you’ll have a nap hangover.

And finally, If you’re one of those people for whom a nap sounds like a great idea but it just doesn’t seem to work out that way, maybe it’s because you don’t know HOW to take a nap. So I’m here to help you.

Here are 6 easy steps to ensure a GREAT power nap!

  1. Pay attention to your own ultradian rhythms: This is your body’s natural daily cycle of activity and rest. Is there a particular time of day when you usually become tired and your energy dips? For me it’s usually about 3pm. When you hit one of those dips give yourself a break and close your eyes for just a bit.
  2. Environment: Key to a productive nap is to limit the distraction of noise, activity and light that can make falling asleep difficult. So close the door, shut the blinds and turn off the light.
  3. Set an Alarm: This is super important! By using a timer you give yourself permission to fall asleep without worrying that you’ll oversleep. I also find that by setting a timer I’m better able to mentally shut down. Each time my mind drifts to my “to do” list I remind myself that I’ll go back to those things when I wake up but right now I’m powering down.
  4. Get horizontal: Studies show that lying down makes it easier to relax and results in better recovery from your nap.
  5. Get a blankie: it’s not just for toddlers after all! A light blanket can help regulate you body’s temperature, which generally drops when you’re asleep.
  6. Mentally letting go: if you can’t sleep, don’t stress about it. Focusing on slow, deep breaths and clearing your mind will bring about many of the same restorative benefits of a good nap – and who knows, you just might drift off too.

Hope that’s a help! Sweet dreams-


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