I love to sleep. It is my favourite pastime, which is probably quite a pathetically sad thing to admit to. It has long been my life’s quest to make siestas socially acceptable – enforced even among my friendship group. I’ve now gone a step further and composed an effect-focussed ‘how-to’ instruction manual for nap times, whatever your napping needs.
10-20 minutes – You Require Instant Alertness
Try the ‘coffee nap’. While it may sound like an oxymoron, the strategic consumption of a caffeine filled beverage just before the shortest of shut-eye sessions is actually genius! Plus it’s actually been proven by studies, one having being conducted at Loughborough University, to significantly improve the alertness of drivers on long-distance journeys. Stimulants like caffeine need a period of time to circulate so it won’t immediately jeopardise sleep quality. On the contrary, while you are travelling through the land of nod, it makes its way around your sleeping body and clears out adenosine (a chemical that causes drowsiness) so you awaken feeling refreshed and revived and just in time for the fantastically helpful surge of caffeine induced clarity and brightness!
30 minutes – You Need a De-stressor
Depending on what time you awoke in the morning, a half hour sleep break times at approximately 2pm in the afternoon is the perfect little cortisol break your body craves in order to repair and soothe the fraying nerves that are building up rapidly throughout the working day. While our circadian rhythm works on encompassing daytime wakefulness with rising drowsiness, it is common to encounter a hump mid-afternoon making it incredibly beneficial to sleep in the afternoon if you get the opportunity to. In fact a Harvard health publication on the subject encourages adding a nap “to make up for the normal age-related decay in the quality of our night sleep”. Please don’t fret if you’ve left it to the late afternoon and don’t think it’s too late to be of benefit because so long as you don’t sleep for more than 30 minutes and you’re awake at least 3 hours before you plan to go to bed, it won’t affect your overall sleep routine at all.
60 minutes – You Need to Keep Going Like a Duracell Bunny!
You are most likely already acquainted with the ‘nana-nap’ or ‘disco nap’ in cosy anticipation for a big night party or evening out. The same thing essentially, referred to by researchers as the ‘prophylactic nap’, is a proven preventative measure when sleep deprivation is on the cards and can’t be avoided. And while the positive effects of improved cognitive performance and alertness last a mere 8-10 hours after your pre-emptive shut-eye, it remains a preferential approach to not having a disco nap and just knocking back multiple cups of coffee or merrily swigging cans of Red Bull. A 60-90 minute nap is ideal as this allows for a lovely and full sleep cycle but will release you before sleep inertia can take hold of you!
90 minutes – You Need a Total Reboot
Whether you’re prepping for an important presentation at work or university, have a big exam or simply need to speed up your mental processor in time for the much awaited weekly challenge of the local pub quiz, go forth and take that extra long nap. Mindfood Magpie orders! Longer than the usual catnap, by slipping into glorious stage 2 sleep you will be sure to awaken refreshed and energised while stage 3 and 4 will declutter the internal processor and destress the mind, whilst also managing to promote the locking in of information so it’s ready to be accessed at flick of a mental switch. Everyone should teach their teens this valuable cramming trick!
Amazing Companies that Promote Sleeping on the Job
Employee recharge at this perk-packed workplace include resting in fabulous EnergyPods with built-in Bose music systems so nappers can shut out all distractions, drift off to sleep to a gorgeous audio backdrop of crashing waves or birdsong and then be very gently roused at the chosen time by the light and vibration timer they set when they entered the pod. Sounds pretty perfect to me. Not like when I used to put my coat over the toilet lid and try to sleep to a back drop of phones ringing, doors slamming, hand dryers and people trying the door handle!
The Oregon office of Nike actively encourage sleep-deprived workers to take time out of the job to self care and increase their productivity, health, wellbeing, mindset and happiness on the job by allowing them access to nap rooms and meditation spaces and promoting their usage whenever workers feel they would benefit from a break.
Newsweek uses Yelo, a napping spa in midtown Manhattan where sleepy employees can drift off in an apparent ‘cocoon-like’ mini treatment room with all manner of scent and sound options to suit their mood at any given nap time. Sounds heavenly, right?