To nap or not to nap? That is the big question when it comes to attaining better sleep. If sleep deprivation is giving you nightmares, napping could very well be a sleep-saver. However, for other people, napping in the day can lead to sleeplessness at night.
There isn’t one definitive answer about the usefulness of napping. Different people respond to napping in various ways. It all depends on the type of sleeper you are, the reason you are struggling to sleep, the number of hours of sleep you need, and how long you nap for.
Why do people nap?
Fatigue induces naps. Most people feel fatigued when they do not experience a full night of sleep. An incomplete sleep cycle (the four stages of sleep) creates heavy tiredness. One of the main reasons people are not able to complete the sleep cycle is that they wake up too frequently throughout the night.
A beneficial strategy to help limit the number of times you wake up is to ensure you are sleeping on the best mattress possible. Uncomfortable beds are notorious for creating poor sleep, leading to sleep deprivation and excessive daytime napping on the couch.
Where is the best place to nap?
If you are choosing to nap on the couch instead of bed - it might be time to check out some mattress reviews and upgrade to the best-rated mattress.
The most comfortable mattresses for naps, as well as deep rejuvenating rest, are memory foam mattresses. Not only do they come in a vast range of styles and budgets, but they are also super supportive and contour to muscles and joints to help reduce pain in crucial pressure points.
Memory foam mattresses are cooling mattresses - and the benefits of sleeping cool are significant. Reducing the temperature of your body can help send you into a deep sleep. If you find yourself waking up hot and sweaty, a cooling mattress might suit you well.
How long should you nap for?
Try to limit your naps, so they do not exceed 30 minutes. Sometimes, even a 15-minute power nap can do the trick. Limiting nap times takes discipline. However, it is necessary if you want to ensure you can find zzz’s during the night when it really counts.
Sleeping for more than 30 minutes can bring upon sleep inertia, which is that drowsy feeling we sometimes experience after waking up. Sleep inertia can make us feel even more tired than before taking a nap and is often brought upon by over-sleeping.
Naps should be short and energizing, allowing you to wake up with more energy to continue working, cooking, cleaning, studying - the list goes on. To keep your naps short, set the alarm, and don’t even allow yourself to hit that snooze button.
How to fall asleep faster
Whether you’re napping or sleeping, it shouldn’t take long to fall asleep. Did you know that the average time adults take to fall asleep is 10-20 minutes? If falling asleep fast is difficult for you, a weighted blanket might be a great solution. Gentle pressure stimulation is one of the primary weighted blanket benefits. Light pressure calms the body fast - it's like a hug!
You can also try meditation as a way to fall asleep faster. Listening to guided meditation is perfect for beginners. Deep relaxing sleep music is another proven way to sleep as soon as you hit the bed. These sounds can be very calming and help slow down the mind and body for unbelievable rest.
How to reduce napping and sleep for longer
If you want to get the most sleep at night, eliminate naps after 3 pm. This will help fatigue the body, so when it’s time to sleep, you are so tired that you just drift into a deep slumber. Taking multiple naps per day is not ideal.
Funnily enough, sleeping too much, just like not sleeping enough, can lead to tiredness, mood swings, and a lackluster attitude.
Find your sleeping sweet-spot. For some, it might be a solid 8 hours - no naps included. But others may benefit from 6 hours and 30 minutes of sleep, and one 15 minute nap. Whatever the case, pay attention to your body and read the signs. The most tell-tale sign is that you wake up ready to take on your day with a positive attitude.
Does napping cure sleep deprivation?
There is no magic cure for sleep deprivation - symptoms and solutions differ from person to person. Naps can help troubled sleepers get through the day. But constant napping isn’t a long term solution.
If your sleep deprivation is severe and impacting every aspect of your life - consult your doctor as it could be linked to a medical issue. However, many people lose hours of sleep because their room is not optimized for sleep.
Clutter, dust, an old mattress, squeaky bed frame, too much light, noise, a snoring partner - these are just a few examples of why you might be missing out on much-needed sleep.
A focus on improving your sleep environment, with a nap or two along the way, can do wonders for your sleep cycle. Give it a try today and see the difference your new sleep routine can make on the overall quality of your life.