How to Nap Without Ruining Your Sleep Schedule
Hustle culture may promote that “sleep is for the weak,” but it is an important bodily function. It is best to sleep whenever you need to, especially if you feel tired.
Some people worry that a quick snooze can bring a slow sleepless night. Is there a way to doze off for a few minutes without breaking your sleep schedule? Also, you might ask, “how long should I nap?”
This article will answer your questions regarding how to get some afternoon shut-eye while maintaining your sleep pattern. The tips include napping methods, pros, and cons.
Why am I sleepy in the afternoon?
Allison T. Siebern, Ph.D., consulting assistant professor at Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center, said we can blame our body clocks or circadian rhythms for afternoon drowsiness:
He said, “A sense of sleepiness can occur seven to nine hours after our wake-up time due to the brain’s drop in alertness.” Moreover, our bodies accumulate adenosine, a substance that builds up in your system that causes sleepiness.
In the afternoon, the human body also sends signals to our brains, similar to those transmitted at bedtime. Michael Grandner, Ph.D., MTR, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, says:
“…your internal body temperature starts dipping. The brain seems to read these drops in body temperature as a signal to conserve energy and prepare for rest and sleep.”
You might be stressed if you check “how long should I nap” online. Overthinking numerous issues could keep you awake at night and make you sleepy in the afternoon.
Some folks stay up late to binge-watch online shows or work extra hours at home. As a result, their bodies might catch up on lost sleep by making them feel tired after lunch. The recent pandemic also encouraged people to live sedentary lifestyles. We often stayed indoors to comply with lockdown rules, reducing our daily physical activities.
It also increased the likelihood of eating unhealthy snacks as we hung out indoors. As a result, these poor lifestyle choices could ruin our sleep cycles.
Some people feel drowsy in the afternoon because of sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea. However, we will focus on tips that work for ordinary cases of afternoon sleepiness.
Who should and shouldn’t take naps
Dr. Ramiz Fargo, medical director for the Loma Linda University Sleep Disorder Center, spoke with CNET regarding how to take naps without disrupting their sleep patterns.
He said most people could achieve this goal, except those with insomnia. These folks could worsen their sleep with afternoon naps, leading to the following problems:
- Frequently waking up in the middle of the night
- Falling asleep later and then rising from bed later than normal
- Disorganized sleep pattern with no clear wake time or bedtime
- Feeling anxious about not being able to sleep, delaying sleep further
Taking a nap without ruining your sleep schedule
You could take a nap safely if you do not have specific conditions. If you search online for “how long should I nap,” you may try the following tips:
First, try to sleep in the early afternoon. Here is the answer to the earlier question: from one to three in the afternoon. Sleep within this period, and you are more likely to maintain your nighttime sleep.
Limit your afternoon nap time to 20 to 30 minutes. Sleep for less time, and you may not feel rested. On the other hand, a long nap could make you feel groggy and worsen your feelings of sleepiness.
Second, prepare your room for regular naps. It should work as if you were sleeping at night. For example, you should dim the lights and cool the room with your air-conditioning unit.
You may want to use your favorite pillow if you have one. Also, try drinking a warm glass of milk before your afternoon nap. These methods could help you fall asleep faster.
Third, accept that naps are fine. You should not feel guilty about resting for a few minutes after lunch. It is not a sign of weakness and laziness. Instead, napping allows you to maintain your body.
Hustle culture encourages competitiveness and productivity, but it has brought harmful trends like quiet quitting. Keep yourself together by giving your body the rest it needs.
Fourth, stay away from your gadgets during your nap. Your notifications can wait. Constantly checking them could disrupt your afternoon rest. Also, screens emit blue light that prompts your brain to stay awake.
On the other hand, you could add features that help you get some rest. For example, meditation apps could prepare your body for sound and restful sleep.
Avoid drinking caffeine before your afternoon nap. Chugging coffee even six hours before bedtime could disrupt your sleep pattern.
Consult a doctor if these tips do not work for you. That might be a sign that you have a sleep condition. Sleep deprivation can lead to numerous health complications, so get help as soon as possible.
You should also check Inquirer USA for more health tips. It keeps you updated with the latest ways to keep your physical and mental health in check.