10 Rules for Taking the Perfect Nap

By Alyse Borkan  |  Oct 19, 2015
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If there is one thing we care more about than a good night’s sleep, it’s a great day’s nap. 

Taking a nap can seem so risky sometimes. When will you wake up? 30 minutes? 5 days? 12 years? And then will you need another nap just to recover from the nap you just took? A nap can be the best thing to happen to your day if you do it right. Follow our 10 tips below to help optimize your midday snooze:

1. Plan ahead: Your nap should be timed with your body’s rhythm. The most ideal time for a snooze is when your energy dips. If it’s hard to tell because you never stop yawning, align your nap with your post-lunch food coma (between 2 and 3pm).

2. Set an alarm: As good as your “jump out bed when your late for work” skills may be, it’s always best to set your alarm to avoid oversleeping. If you nap too long you can wake up feeling groggy and unrefreshed (see #3 for more) or even disrupt your sleep later that night.

3. Time it just right: 10-20 minutes of sleep is exactly how long you should be out cold to wake up with more clarity, energy, and focus. If you pass 30 minutes, you run the risk of annoying your friends, coworkers, and local barista by being grouchy. If you’re one of the lucky few who truly has time for the ultimate nap (we’re jealous), make it 90 minutes. You’ll go through a full REM cycle, and will wake up looking like you slept for a full 8 hours.

4. Hit the lights: When you’re sleeping in the middle of the day, you have to work around the sun. Make sure you pick a spot where you can dim the lights, close the shades, and trick your body into thinking it’s time for bed. If it’s still bright too bright, we recommend an effective and stylish sleep mask to help.

5. Embrace The Coffee Nap: It seems counterintuitive, but chugging a cup of coffee right before your nap will give you the ultimate boost of energy when you wake up. The catch is that you have to be able to fall asleep quickly so the caffeine doesn’t kick in and prevent you from being able to falling asleep.

6. Tune out: Cars beeping? Dogs barking? Friends bantering? We suggest queuing up a sleep playlist full of your favorites, using earplugs, or even listening to a white noise machine to help get rid of any extra background noise.

7. Sleep cool: Not only should your room be as dark as a cave, but it should also be as cool as one. Hate the feeling when you have to keep kicking off the blanket? Slightly lowering the temperature right before you crawl under the covers will guarantee your nap is sweat-free.

8. Pick a place: Don’t sleep where you work. Find somewhere new and not exciting. We always recommend the bed first (not-so-subtle Casper plug), but a couch or even a bean bag chair will work if you don’t have the luxury of finding a mattress mid-afternoon.

9. Make it cozy: All of it. Everything and anything you can find. Blankets, pillows, sweats, sheets, slippers. Turning your bed into a blanket fort will help you embrace the zzz’s. 

10. Don’t sweat it: Seriously, refer to #7. But also, even if you’re not able to get straight to sleep, don’t worry about it. A little relaxation can still go a long away. Bonus: it’ll be even easier to pass out the second the sun goes down later.

Image credit: @rustyrodas

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