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For many of us, napping is equated with nostalgic memories from childhood. Memories of the “good old days,” when you, your blankie and your favorite stuffed animals came together for a wonderful one or two hour period of complete rest and relaxation.
However, as time went on and we moved into our teen years and adulthood, many of us became conditioned to the belief that napping was a waste of time — that napping wasn’t meant for grown-ups. After all, grown-ups are meant to be productive, useful, contributing members of society! Napping? Well, that’s just for kids.
At least that’s what we all think. But it turns out, that’s not entirely true. In fact, that’s one of the most widespread and perpetuated false beliefs that may actually be causing more harm than good! This is because napping offers incredible benefits including better alertness and productivity, improved learning and memory capacity, increased cognitive functioning and improved creativity.
To get the most out of your nap, here are some simple, easy to follow tips. Happy sleeping!
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This may seem like common sense, but finding a comfortable place where you can fully stretch out and relax is very important. When you lie down, your body releases a special chemical meant to trigger sleep, so it’s not only more comfortable but also biologically proven to help you get a better, more effective rest.
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Take your nap in an area where you’re away from buzzing phones, beeping gadgets, and other people who may interrupt your sleep. Concentrate on achieving a more balanced and peaceful state of mind and focus on relaxation. A simple practice you can adopt to improve your ability to achieve this is starting off your nap with ten deep breaths as a way to slow your mind and further relax your body.
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Keep It Short and Sweet
The best length of time for a nap is between 15 and 30 minutes. This is just enough time for the body to regain its ability to function more productively and help you improve your alertness and concentration. However, be warned—any longer and you may enter a deeper cycle of sleep, which may cause you to feel more tired or groggy when you wake up!
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Time It Right
Ensure that you take your nap early enough in the day so as not to interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. Studies have shown the best period of time to take a nap is between 2pm and 4pm in the afternoon.
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Make Your Food Work for You
Avoid foods high in caffeine and sugar, which may make you feel restless or jumpy at least one to two hours before you set your nap time. Instead, select foods rich in calcium and protein, as these are beneficial in aiding and promoting sleep.