One of the best ways to improve your life and your health is to get the right amount of sleep. Knowing when to sleep can also be very important. This means that sometimes you also just need to take a nap.
But not all naps are created equal. Sometimes you need to be careful about the way you nap, and plan so that you get the perfect nap for what you are trying to accomplish. You can get the right amount of sleep and improve your productivity and your life. Here is a cool infographic shared on Twitter not too long ago that offers a look at what the perfect nap might be:
What are You Trying to Accomplish?
First of all, to find the perfect nap for your situation, you need to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish. What’s your next move? Most of the time, for me, the power nap is the answer. My power naps usually consist of a guided meditation that I can perform in corpse pose. I choose a meditation that lasts 15 or 20 minutes, and it usually helps me relax quickly so that I drift off. Usually, I zone out and doze off before the meditation is too far in. When the meditation ends, it usually wakes me up (or it’s the natural end to the power nap). This allows me to feel refreshed, and ready to get right back to work.
There are other types of naps as well. I like how the visual identifies different lengths that are ideal. I found it interesting that a 26-minute nap is ideal for endurance when you have a long day ahead, but a 30-minute nap is the “bad” nap that will leave you feeling groggy. You need an effective power nap if you expect to get back into it later.
It appears that the rule is that if you feel like you’re going to need a nap that’s longer than 26 minutes, it makes sense to carve out the time for a 60-minute nap or a 90-minute nap. (It’s also interesting to note that there is some thought that you should plan your overnight sleep to coincide with the end of a 90-minute cycle. So, you should consider a 7 1/2 hour or a 9 hour nightly sleep, rather than planning on 8 hours.)
Making the Time to Take Your Perfect Nap
Because I work form home as a freelancer, I can just nap whenever I feel the need. Usually, I start to feel my eyes drift shut between 1:30 or 2:30 pm, so I nap when that happens. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to try and work around a more traditional schedule.
For others, finding the right time to nap can be difficult. If you have enough time for a power nap, that might be your only option. However, it might be the only thing you need to get you going to the end of the day. If you are traveling, though, and need to prepare to give a presentation, it can be worth it to see if you can get an hour of personal time and nap for 60 minutes. I also like to use the 90-minute rule when I travel. If I know that a full night’s sleep isn’t going to be a possibility, I settle for a situation in which I can get a multiple of 90 minutes, so maybe 3 hours, or 4.5 hours (but it’s better if I can manage 6 hours).
There’s so much research that indicates that sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself frequently in need of a nap, it’s a good idea to go ahead and do what you can to get the sleep that you require.