In some cultures, napping is a regular and healthy thing. Moreover, it’s expected concerning people to have a short rest during the day. This practice can lead to longer working hours and to better work and life balance. However, when it comes to napping in the States, napping as not yet as accessible.
Still, a national survey discovered some interesting facts when it comes to napping.
The most exciting fact was actually that one in three Americans takes a nap regularly. If you seem a bit unfocused during the day, you may think about taking a nap. Still, can a day time nap significantly interfere with your night sleep?
Can Napping During The Day Affect Your Sleep At Night?
The truth is, humans are hardwired to feel a little tired in the middle of the afternoon, especially if regular meals are skipped, or a difficult to digest food is eaten.
Although most people’s natural circadian rhythm dips between 1 PM and 3 PM, it can vary from person to person.
Some short napping will not disturb night sleep. On the other hand, day napping in some people can create immense sleep distress.
In a way, napping is a skill.
You need to practice napping, be open toward it and don’t oversleep it.
Napping is designed to help you refresh and survive the rest of the day easily.
What do you when you feel sleepy, or that your energy down?
- Do you drink coffee?
- Do you nap?
- Do you eat sweets?
Maybe you don’t do either of these, or you go for all of three. Perhaps it works for you, but the truth us that if it works for you, you wouldn’t be here reading this, right?
So, if you must choose only one point, decide to nap, just learn how to nap correctly.
Naps Can Be Very Helpful
Sleeping for a short time daily can boost your energy level, help you feel fresher, and can lead to you being more productive. This daily siesta can be especially helpful if you are preparing exams in college or you have a long week of tests in high schools.
Moreover, if you work at night, you could try to incorporate naps on your busy daily schedule. The very basic rule about napping is – naps are short.
Naps are always short and no longer than 20 minutes. Otherwise, you would reach your REM phase and you will sleep for hours.
Also, longer naps can make you feel groggy. Why? Longer naps are actual sleep, deep sleep, and your brain sees longer sleep as night sleep.
As you know, you need specific sleeping hours based on your age, and your body demands those hours.
That’s why it’s essential that if you nap, not to disrupt your night sleep. The truth is that even a short nap in the early evening can seriously interfere with bedtime. This is what you should do if you don’t want your nap to interfere with your sleep.
1. Think About the Time
If you want to have a long and uninterrupted sleep when you nap, it’s important to watch the clock. What does this mean? It’s simple. If you take a nap at the wrong time of day, it can be highly counterproductive.
If you nap in the evening, you can expect a restless night. So, the best time to nap is after lunch, when the body naturally starts to go down.
2. Always Keep It Short
Sleeping is one activity, while napping is entirely different. Less is more here, and more nap is not better for you. More nap can only create chaos in your daily and sleeping schedule.
If you nap for an hour, understand that you aren’t napping, you are actually sleeping. That being said, naps should be no more than 20 minutes max and away from the evening.
Twenty minutes is enough to help you refresh, and keep you away from the REM sleep phase.
Moreover, these twenty minutes will put you in the non-REM phase, which is actually the lightest stage of sleep. If you choose to snooze your alarm, you will definitely enter a deep sleep stage. The outcome? You may wake to feel tired and moody. Can you avoid getting into the sleep phase? Yes, if you choose not to snooze.
3. Set the Scene
If you are ready to take a quick nap, make sure that you nap in the right environment. Good sleep comes with the right mindset and the right environment.
If you start thinking about napping as sleep, you will only sleep. So, think always about napping as a short sleeping phase that will help you be more productive and boost your energy.
Create an ideal, napping environment. Have limited light. Avoid completely dark room – this is a nap, not your REM sleeping phase. Have a comfortable temperature, and have a minimal noise around. You can even nap on the floor if it feels more comfortable.
If you are traveling, think about bringing noise-canceling headphones with you. You can also think about having an eye mask on hand to help you relax no matter where you are.
4. Limit Caffeine
Do you have a strict morning routine that includes a big cup of coffee? For some people, this is a must, while for other, a short espresso will do the work and boost their energy to start the day.
You should know that the ideal time to drink coffee is not early in the morning or in the afternoon.
The perfect coffee cup time is between 9-11 AM. Moreover, extra caffeine in the middle of the day, in the afternoon to be specific, can make your sleep worse, and you nap almost impossible.
Before PM rolls around, you can even have two cups of coffee, but afterward, you should stick to tea or water. This will also help your nap.
If you want to know more about what to do when work interferes with sleep, you can discover more here.
Last but not least, here are the top five effective ways to improve your sleep.
- Keep the bright light: make sure to increase bright light exposure during the day. Your body will always follow the light as a sign that it should be awake.
- Reduce blue light exposure: light durign the day is beneficial, but durign the night exposure to extra light can have the opposite effect. That being said, blue light can also trick the brain that’s time to be awake.
- Have a sleep schedule: if possible try to sleep and wake at consistent times. Your body can be trained, and if you train your body to get up and go to bed at the same time, you will see benefits in the first couple of days.
- Think about using melatonin supplement: melatonin is a key sleep hormone that basically tells your brain when its time to relax and go to bed. Lately, melatonin is a popular sleep aid and often used to treat insomnia.
- Avoid alcohol: having a night cap after a busy day, may sound like a good choice. However, the truth is that any night cup, unless it’s a tea that promotes sleepiness, will disturb your sleep. If your night cup is actually alcohol, you can expect a negative effect on your sleep and hormones. Moreover, you can expect a negative outcome of your entire health.
The Bottom Line
It’s a common practice in busy people: around noon, the body goes down slowly, that you need either caffeine, either something sweet to help you survive the day.
In those moments, all that you need is silence and sleep. But, what to do if your nap interferes with your sleep? Is it even possible.? As mentioned earlier, a nap can disturb your sleep if you don’t follow nap rules.
However, if you manage to follow nap rules and to see nap as a short time to regain your energy, then you are on a good path to have a balance between your nap and sleep.