I count it as an absolute certainty that in paradise, everyone naps. A nap is a perfect pleasure and it’s a useful, too. It splits the day into two halves, making each half more manageable and enjoyable.
– How to Be Idle: A Loafer’s Manifesto by Tom Hodgkinson
A solid 23 years after my kindergarten graduation I still take naps. Generally speaking, we are an anti-adult-nap-taking culture, with a distinct lack of a Siesta. Napping can be a controversial topic, people either love them or hate them. I find naps both restorative and worthwhile. Here are a few of my unscientific solutions for some common napping complaints I have heard over the years.
POST NAP DAZE
Living the remainder of your day in a post nap fog is a calculated risk. When sheer exhaustion makes it hard to function without more rest, it’s a risk that is worth taking. Find your own nap style. Trial and error helped me determine I’m a 2 hour max napper. Between 1 and 2 hours being ideal. 30 mins is usually not enough and over 2 hours keeps me in a daze.
I have a 5:00pm rule for napping. That is the magic hour. I try not to take a nap after 5pm or sleep past 5pm. The later and longer I nap increases the chance that it will mess with nightime sleep routine. To learn more about your individual ideal nap time pick up Dr. Sara Mednick’s book Take a Nap! Change Your Life.
Waking up painicked is never ideal. What I am about to share is possibly the dorkiest thing I do yet also my best nap #PROTIP: Creating a unique nap routine will help ease post nap confusion. For example, I only take naps in a sleeping bag over top of my sheets. This does seem like a strange habit on the surface. But waking up in a sleeping bag instantly alerts me that the winter darkness means evening and that eliminates any panic.
PEAK PRODUCTION LOSS
I tend to be most productive early in the morning and very late at night. I also require a lot of sleep. So naps work well for me. BUT, just because I find value in napping doesn’t you will. Just because society only endorses a 20 minute “power nap” doesn’t mean that will work for you. Don’t believe the hype, listen to you body. Trust it and sleep well, whatever the time.