The Art of the Mid-Day Nap

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There’s more to napping than just placing yourself horizontal.

When I was a kid, my parents always seemed to have a predilection for napping in the early afternoon on the weekends. I didn’t understand at the time; why would you wanna sleep on the weekend when you could spend your time doing fun things like running around outside or playing video games? Now that I’m an adult with a 9 to 5, I completely get the appeal. Sometimes, you really need to shut off for a little while in the middle of the day. However, there’s a certain art to the mid-day nap that the uninitiated may be unaware of.

Firstly, as pleasant as naps are, you should endeavor to keep them short: 20 minutes, 30 tops. Proper, deep sleep is for nighttime, so if you completely fall asleep in the middle of the day, you’ll never be able to get to sleep when it’s actually time for it. I like to put on a bad movie that works simultaneously as relaxing white noise and stimulation to keep me from falling too deeply asleep. Otherwise, just set an alarm on your phone.

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Secondly, for the nap itself, you want to be comfortable, but not too comfortable. You’ve still got the remainder of the day to deal with, after all, so it’s not time for lounge pants just yet. Find yourself a dark, pleasantly cool nook to lay your head. Your living room couch will suffice if you pull the shades over the windows, though you could also just wear an eye mask.

Finally, when nap time is over, give your brain and body a few minutes to wake up before you try to do anything important. Even if you weren’t in a deep sleep, your body was in low-power mode for a little while, so it needs a moment to heat back up. Once you’re fully awake, you should be rested, alert, and raring to go.