How to Nap
Just do us a favor and finish this list first. (Adapted from here: http://nyti.ms/261LLPF)
- •Aim to sleep for 20 minutesAnything longer, and you risk drifting into what scientists call slow-wave sleep, a state of languid brain-wave activity considered important for consolidating memories.
- •Set an alarm clockSeriously, we weren't kidding about that 20-minute thing. A slow-wave encounter is likely to leave you with what Dr. Damien Léger calls “sleep drunkenness” instead of a feeling of rejuvenation. (Léger runs a sleep-research center at a hospital in Paris.)
- •Think of napping as a basic right, not a petty luxuryLéger wrote a recent report arguing that all workers should be permitted naptime, an especially important respite for those working night shifts or anyone who routinely sleeps 6 or fewer hours daily. Such chronic sleep deprivation is associated with hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, cancer and even an increased risk of death.
- •Find a safe space where you’re unlikely to be botheredIf you have an unoccupied office or a dedicated rest area nearby, put it to use.
- •Block out light with an eye mask
- •Consider earplugsAbsolute quiet is not a requirement for sleep, but if you are in a particularly noisy place, like a factory, you'll want to block noise out.
- •You don’t need to lie downNapping can be achieved sitting upright, cheek on the desk. “Bring along a small pillow for your head,” Léger says.
- •Prepare for peak drowsiness.The ideal snooze time will depend on your sleep schedule, but most daytime workers are their most drowsy in the afternoon. Léger hopes that someday, a quick slumber will replace the post-lunch coffee. “Napping is much more powerful than caffeine,” he says, “and there are no negative side effects.”