What do most of us do when sleepiness strikes in the middle of the day? If we’re in a conducive situation, we may sneak off to the couch or bed for a quick power nap. Plenty of adults find a brief period of sleep to be just what they need to get back into a busy day. However, as with many things related to one’s health, there are right ways and wrong ways to incorporate naps into your routine.

Time for a nap? Before you fall asleep, make sure you’re following these 4 essential principles for a healthy rest. #MainStreetMedical #MainStreetClinics Click To Tweet

Getting a Little Extra Rest

Whether you’re sleep-deprived or just tired from a long day, a nap may sound appealing. And for the most part, a little extra rest could be exactly what you need. But napping isn’t beneficial for everyone. Before you take a rest, keep these healthy napping habits in mind:

  1. Find a restful environment
  2. Keep an eye on the time
  3. Monitor any drawbacks
  4. Consult your doctor about any problems

1) Find a Restful Environment

Everything from room temperature to ambient noise and light levels can affect your sleep quality. Make sure your napping location of choice is conducive to an excellent rest. Find a comfortable temperature, turn off the lights, and close the blinds on any windows. Make sure the environment stays quiet. Alternatively, some find that white noise helps them sleep surprisingly well. Experiment to find the perfect napping environment for you.

2) Keep an Eye on the Time

This principle is twofold. First of all, pay attention to the time of day. Taking naps in the late afternoon (3 pm or later) can interfere with a good night’s sleep later on. If you don’t get enough rest during the night, you’ll be even more driven to nap the following day, which can lead to a vicious cycle of not sleeping enough at all.

Second, restrict your exact naptime to about 10-20 minutes. Young adults may be able to tolerate slightly longer naps, but should still aim to wake up after about 30 minutes. Napping too long can allow your body to fall into a deep sleep, making waking up difficult. You may find yourself somewhat dazed as your body tries to catch up. A quick power nap is likely all you need to get your energy back up.

3) Monitor Any Drawbacks

Well-planned naps can give you an essential boost in energy and productivity for the rest of the day. However, sometimes a nap can backfire. If you sleep too long or too deeply, you may find yourself dealing with sleep inertia, an exhausted feeling that makes you want to go back to bed. Naps can also interfere with nighttime sleep in some cases, especially for anyone already dealing with insomnia. Monitor your overall sleep quality and how rested you feel following a nap. If naps don’t seem to be helping, it’s time to consider the root of the problem.

4) Consult Your Doctor About Any Problems

Maybe your new napping routine isn’t helping you feel more rested. Alternatively, maybe your napping habits are the result of a sudden increase in fatigue or insomnia that you can’t explain. Either way, something bigger could be at play. Talk to your doctor about possible causes and treatments to help you get better sleep each night.

Give Your Body the Rest it Needs

Healthy sleep habits play an important role in your overall quality of life. Getting plenty of rest gives you the energy you need to have a productive day and enjoy excellent health. If you find yourself struggling even after adopting a helpful napping routine, get in touch with your doctor.

Contact us for more information on healthy sleep schedules and their impact on your overall wellbeing.

Dr Abbas Jafri MD