Fresh takes on how to doze off into (and snap out of) the perfect midday snooze
Nappuccinos and other nap hacks that are way less tired than you are
Warm milk. Counting sheep. Hot showers. Meditation. We've probably all tested these tried-and-true slumber-inducing methods at some point when we're up restless in the middle of the night but, for some of us, the quest to perfect that midday snooze still shrouded in mystery. We've all seen the headlines promising that napping has been proven to boost alertness, memory, creativity, and productivity. But it's easier said than done – to actually benefit from a mid-afternoon snooze, it turns out you need to be strategic. Sleep consultant Alanna McGinn stopped by The Goods to share her secrets on how to nap smart.
According to McGinn, the perfect nap is less than 30 minutes – and not just because you need to get back to work. Anything longer, and you'll likely begin to enter a deep phase of sleep, leaving you feeling like you have a 'sleep hangover'. And although it may may be great to nap, it's not always an easy feat. Here are few of McGinn's strategic yet fresh nap hacks to help you perfect every part of the process, from drifting off to snapping out of that post-snooze haze.
Drinking coffee before your nap can help you time the perfect nap. It's been proven that drinking coffee before you take a nap can increase your alertness more than just drinking the coffee. It takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to metabolize, so if you sleep for 20 minutes or so and then wake up, you'll be feeling the effects of the caffeine and a refreshing nap.
Create your own nap pod. Keeping things quiet and dark for your nap definitely helps. Using sleep tools like eye masks, earplugs or noise machines can help create the perfect nap environment for you. Some companies are even offering nap stations for their employees to use at work in order to increase productivity. If you're looking for the optimal rest, limit your nap to 15-20 minutes, or go through a full sleep cycle of 90 minutes so that you are waking as your body is cycling into a phase of lighter sleep.
Just like many parents find it helpful to rock their children to sleep, one study showed that the same motion could help soothe and settle adults and help them fall asleep faster. It also showed that each participant spent a longer time in the deep phase of sleep.
Cold water recovery
If you're feeling sluggish and groggy when you wake up from your nap, try drinking ice cold water. It can help stimulate adrenaline that will get your heart pumping and boost blood flow to the brain.