Siestas are just a part of daily life in Spain and Latin American countries. After lunch, people in South Asia commonly take naps preceded by a mustard oil massage. In Bangladesh, sleeping after eating is called bhat-ghum (“rice sleep”). Offices in the UK, Japan, Australia, and a few US cities are starting to introduce nap pods to the workplace, as supplied by companies such as MetroNaps.
In America (well, generally speaking), the commonality between kindergarten and college is naptime. Between late-night cram sessions and that 9am class, there is serious potential for a lack of sleep. Now that finals are upon us, it is important to get enough rest. Napping can help to keep droopy lids up and tired eyes open as well as alleviate stress.
To make for an effective nap, it is best to be lying down in a quiet, dark environment. Rather than cocooning yourself beneath the layers of blankets on your bed, use just one or two blankets so your body knows it’s not time for a full night’s sleep. Napping is ideal in the mid-afternoon, especially starting between 1 and 1:30 if you tend to go to bed and wake up early, and beginning about 2:20 and 3 o’clock if you’re a night owl.
Before dozing off, though, make sure you’re aware of how long your nap should last, and set your cell phone alarm accordingly:
1. Nap for 20 minutes if you’re feeling cranky because of lack of sleep, or you want a power-kick before intensely hitting the books. *Trick: consume a caffeinated beverage before your nap to be even more alert when you wake up (the caffeine will take effect during the time you’re dozing).
2. Nap for 20 to 45 minutes if you have class or want to exercise upon waking. Snoozing for this time period is light enough to prevent you from falling into a deep sleep so you won’t be groggy when you awake.
3. Nap for 1.5 to 2 hours to make up for lost sleep from the night before. Long naps help to fully recharge you, clear your mind, and improve your memory by taking you through the entire sleep cycle (every hour and a half to two hours = about 1 cycle).
Try not to doze off for more than 2 hours or else you probably will have troubling catching your ZZZs at night. Happy napping!