How to Nap Effectively
Updated: Apr 7
Do you nap? Do you even have time to nap? Do you avoid it because it disrupts your sleep at night?
There's a lot of conflicting opinions around this subject so I get asked what I think about naps all the time.
I'm a huge fan of naps! The body and mind can benefit immensely from this simple recharging process. However, it's the definition of what a nap is that's confusing and there really is an art to it if you want to appreciate the benefits.
During a good quality nap, and if you get it right, your mind can reach states where the brain waves change, you can enter what I call 'the high-performance state' and you'll empty your stress bucket a little. Therefore you should wake from that nap feeling refreshed and revived.
When you nap correctly, it's not quite the same sleep you sleep at night. It's a state of mind that rests the conscious part of the brain but allows the subconscious part to get to work. During this time you're not switched off - remember I said your brain waves can change - well actually they can change to a frequency which would show the brain working 4 times harder than if you were sitting doing a maths test! 4 times harder - that's phenomenal! Superfast emptying of the stress bucket can occur here!
That's if you get it right!
So what is my advice around the art of getting a good nap?
1. It's all in the timing.
20 minutes is the perfect length of time for a nap. Less than this and you're not getting the benefit. More than this and you could just end up going into a deep sleep phase which would then disrupt your sleep at night and make you feel groggy afterwards rather than refreshed.
2. Don't expect silence.
You're napping, not sleeping, so normal everyday sounds will continue around you. Learn to accept those sounds in the background of your awareness.
3. Keep warm.
When you relax the body cools down so always have a blanket, even if you feel warm to begin with. You don't want to disrupt the nap halfway through by beginning to feel cold.
4. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
The mind loves repetition. So don't give up if you can't nap perfectly the first time you try. Try again, another day, following the same rules every time.
And if it's not your thing, that's fine too. Don't think that you MUST do this. It's not essential -but it is amazing if you can perfect it!
Want to find out more? Check out my series about Solution Focused Therap and how it can help you cope with stress, anxiety, depression & related symptoms.
Gin Lalli firstname.lastname@example.org
Gin Lalli is a Solution Focused Therapist specialising in anxiety, depression, stress and sleep. She is based in Edinburgh, Scotland