Sometimes it’s out of exhaustion. Other times it’s actual sleep deprivation but, either way, the result is the same: a need for a nap. Naps are relatively common, especially among college students, but rarely are their effects fully felt by their takers. As surprising as it may be, there is an art to taking a nap and the more you master that art, the better and more rejuvenating your naps will be. With that in mind, here’s some tips on how to make the most of your nap, whenever and why-ever you take them.
1. Keep it short.
The thing to avoid when napping is deep sleep. Once in this mode, it’ll be harder for you to wake up, even with an alarm, and it’ll make you feel restless and groggy when you do wake up. Time your naps to last only around twenty to thirty minutes at most. A good way to ensure this is to not nap in your own bed as that’ll leave you too comfortable and your body too expectant of longer relaxation. Choose maybe a couch or a chair you can rest on instead. It’s also possible to lie your head on a table although that’ll be harder to pull off.
2. If you’re out and about, keep your stuff close-by.
Napping is a convenient human activity in that it can be done on the go. However, this poses a problem for people with materials that they need to protect. A tip for these types of situations is to sleep on or holding these things so that they can’t be easily taken from you in your sleep. If you’re a student, one way how to make the most of your nap hug your backpack as tightly as you can do so comfortably. Take the small stuff out of there and stash them in your pockets; this goes especially for your phone and wallet.
3. Try a caffeinated nap.
Caffeine is a good way to jolt yourself awake (in moderation, of course) but combining it with a nap gives it a much bigger impact. Having a cup of joe beforehand will leave you feeling immediately alert when you wake up, ensuring an energised few hours that some regular naps can’t provide. Be sure to drink the caffeine quickly though; waiting too long can cause it to take effect, preventing you from sleeping in the first place!
4. Don’t nap too close to your natural bedtime.
Naps already have the ability to wreck your sleep schedule should they go on too long. But napping too close to when you sleep can push back your sleep schedule by a few hours, and that can mean less sleep during the night. Avoid this by taking your naps early in the afternoon or late in the morning. That way you have plenty of time before sunset to live your daily life without impacting your night-time activities as well.
5. Relax before your nap begins.
You want to be ready before you start resting. A good way to prepare for how to make the most of your nap is by relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing. Other good methods for how to make the most of your nap include the use of white noise or ambient music to settle down. Of course, if you’re sleep-deprived enough, then just laying down will be sufficient but for those who are too full of energy to rest, try some of these things beforehand and it might just help.
6. Don’t use naps to replace night-time sleep.
Lastly and most importantly, even though napping is a good way to regain energy that you would’ve otherwise lost, don’t use it as a crutch when your sleep schedule is inadequate. It is far more beneficial to your brain, your heart, your focus, your patience and your overall mental health to regularly get a good night’s sleep than to attempt to make it up throughout the next day. And considering work and school responsibilities, it’s probably good for your paycheck and your grades too!
So did any of these tips help you on how to make the most of your nap? Have anything on the topic you want to share? Leave your responses in the comments section below!
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Hi! I'm Tyler and I'm a sophomore student at the University of Vermont. I'm an English major and I'm minoring in French and Linguistics. I'm particularly interested in reading, writing, philosophy and the natural world (although the Internet is somewhere I hang out often too).