My body typically recovers pretty quickly from running. However, I’ve had a nagging “cranky” Achilles that has continued to bother me for a few weeks. Nothing like an injury to make me analyze my recovery strategy. I’ve added the typical foam rolling, stretching, and PT, but the one thing I struggle with the most is REST. I hate to sit still. I’m a big time morning person (you can hate me now), but lately I’ve even been sleeping through my alarm. It’s like my body is trying to tell me to get more rest. So…I googled “how to nap.”
I can’t remember the last time I took a nap, but I do remember fighting them as a kid.
**Side note: If you google napping you will be inundated with pictures of cute kitten, puppies, and bunnies napping. If you need a smile, do it.
5 Reasons Why You Should Nap from Michael Hyatt
1. A nap restores alertness. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a short nap of 20–30 minutes “for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.”
2. A nap prevents burnout. In our always-on culture, we go, go, go. However, we were not meant to race without rest. Doing so leads to stress, frustration, and burnout. Taking a nap is like a system reboot. It relieves stress and gives you a fresh start.
3. A nap heightens sensory perception. According to Dr. Sandra C. Mednick, author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, napping can restore the sensitivity of sight, hearing, and taste. Napping also improves your creativity by relaxing your mind and allowing new associations to form in it.
4. A nap reduces the risk of heart disease. Did you know those who take a midday siesta at least three times a week are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease? Working men are 64 percent less likely! It’s true, according to a 2007 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the study said, “Taking a nap could turn out to be an important weapon in the fight against coronary mortality.”
5. A nap makes you more productive. Numerous medical studies have shown workers becoming increasingly unproductive as the day wears on. But a 2002 Harvard University study demonstrated a 30-minute nap boosted the performance of workers, returning their productivity to beginning-of-the-day levels.
Tips on How to Nap:
The first thing you should know is, feeling sleepy in the afternoon is normal. It doesn’t mean you had a big lunch, or that you’re depressed, or you’re not getting enough exercise. That’s just how animals’ cycles work — every 24 hours, we have two periods of intense sleepiness. One is typically in the wee hours of the night, from about 2am to 4am, and the other is around 10 hours later, between 1pm and 3pm. If you’re a night owl and wake up later in the morning, that afternoon sleepiness may come later; if you’re an early bird, it may come earlier. But it happens to everyone; we’re physiologically hardwired to nap.
Keep the air temperature 1-2 degrees cooler than usual.
Be consistent. Try to nap at the same time every day. This helps stabilize your circadian rhythms and maximize the benefits.
Keep it short. Avoid “sleep inertia,” that feeling of grogginess and disorientation that can come from awakening from a deep sleep. Set an alarm on your phone to avoid oversleeping.
Turn off the lights. Light acts as a cue for our bodies. Darkness communicates it is time to shut down—or go into standby mode. If you can’t turn off the lights, use a simple eye mask.
Use a blanket. When you sleep, your metabolism falls, your breathing rate slows, and your body temperature drops slightly. Though not imperative, you will usually be more comfortable if you use a light blanket when you nap.
Find a nice dark place where you can lie down. It takes about 50% longer to fall asleep sitting up (this is why red eye flights usually live up to their name), and be armed with a blanket; you don’t want to be chilly. You also don’t want to be too warm, which can lead to oversleeping.
White noise can help you fall asleep, especially during the day when construction crews, garbage trucks, barking dogs and other noisy awake-world things can conspire to destroy your nap. Keep a fan on, or turn on a nearby faucet for a pleasing rushing-river sound. (Just kidding about that last one.)
Don’t nap too close to bedtime, or you might not be able to fall asleep later. Remember, your inbuilt sleepy window is sometime in the early to mid-afternoon — try to nap then.
Wake up slowly. It will make you less cranky and get you motivated for the rest of the day.
Sometimes light can give you headaches after a light nap, try to gradually introduce your eyes to bright lights to avoid headaches.
Quit that silly job where they don’t let you take naps during the day. And if you are at work, make sure nobody is watching you. Beware of the cameras and other people snooping on you.
So, how long should you nap?
I don’t think this thing would help!
Here is an interesting article on The Healing Power of Naps
And another about Napping After Running
So…are you a napper? Is it a daily ritual? So, I’m still not able to nap, but I have been setting aside 30 minutes to sit and relax. Maybe this will lead to napping:)
Do you have any tips for napping?
What time do you typically go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning? I try to fall asleep around 10:30 and wake up around 5-5:30am.