Nothing tops sinking into pillows for a leisurely nap in the afternoon, especially if you didn’t sleep much the night before. Not all naps are equal, though, and there are several mistakes you could be making that will leave you waking up unsatisfied and fatigued. Below are three you should steer clear of.
Why You’re Not Getting the Most From Your Nap
1. Using Uncomfortable Bedding or Surfaces
Discomfort while sleeping will keep you from sleeping deeply enough to feel rested. Consider taking naps in your bed, instead of on a couch or chair. If your bedding isn’t cozy, then you’ll need to replace it to achieve better sleep. Check your pillows for holes, lumpiness, or lack of support, and if they’re unsuitable, invest in new, lush pillows that will lull you to sleep. A mattress with lumps, bugs, stabbing springs, or other problems will also disrupt your sleep, so considering investing in a mattress pad or topper to use until you can purchase a new mattress. You should also consider browsing down comforters to replace worn comforter sets.
2. Sleeping Too Little or Too Much
Getting the wrong amount of sleep during your nap is a problem, too. Under- or over-sleeping can cause irritability, fatigue, and achiness, so take steps to ensure your nap is sufficient. Set alarms that will wake you up after 1-2 hours of sleep, and only nap when you have enough time to do so. To avoid early waking or disruptions, nap in a quiet area where you’re likely to be left alone, minimizing the noise and number of people around you.
3. Napping Without a Schedule
Napping at random times throughout the day on random days will affect your circadian rhythm. Your body operates best when it has a specific sleeping schedule, so your naps should be at least loosely scheduled, too. Attempt to nap around the same time each day, and work your schedule around it if you need to. Setting aside that block of time daily for naps will maximize the benefits you get from napping, and it removes the stress of needing a nap but having no time for it.
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