Issue ten of Kinfolk Magazine featured an article that was entitled ‘A Guide to Napping’. In it, the writer stated her case for taking short but well-deserved naps in the middle of the day. I am just in love with this article, almost as much as I am with naps.
I am an avid napper. I have been for as long as I can remember. Years ago while I was still in high school, I would have just over an hour’s time between the end of the school day and before I had to go to my part-time job. I would spend that time having a quick bath with the lights out, and napping in the tub for about 20 minutes. It was the one consistent enjoyment that I looked forward to each and everyday. Now, over a decade later and with having to work 4 jobs, I find myself sneaking a nap whenever I possibly can. They do not last long, and can occur anytime between 11 am to 8 pm, but they are essential to keeping my energy up and my sanity in check. I wholly believe in nap-taking, and that it should be embraced in North America rather than frowned upon or viewed as a form of laziness. If we aren’t hurting anyone by taking them, then what’s the harm? You can decide for yourselves.
“A Guide to Napping” – by Georgia Frances King
BEING OLD IS HARD WORK. ALL THAT PIGEON FEEDING AND BRIDGE PLAYING REALLY TAKES IT OUT OF YOU. HERE’S OUR GUIDE TO NAPPING LIKE A SENIOR.
SLUMP DURING YOUR SLUMP
There’s a scientific reason why you get a little groggy after lunchtime: Your natural melatonin level (the hormone that controls your sleep cycle and makes you drowsy) spikes between noon and 4 p.m., making you prone to weariness. Combined with a post-lunch energy sap while you digest, that’s when you start getting the yawns. Nap time! Just don’t do any dozing four hours before you’re planning to nod off for the night, as it’ll disrupt your dreams.
SET A TIMER
“Less is more” is a mantra also applied to napping. If you surpass the half-hour mark then you risk falling into stage 3 or 4 sleep, meaning you’ll wake up more groggy and irritable than you started. Twenty minutes is the perfect restorative snooze time, or if you really need the shut-eye, go through a full 90-minute sleep cycle so you bounce to REM sleep and back.
Drinking coffee before attempting to nod off may seem counterintuitive but recent studies have suggested it could be the perfect power nap utility. If you drink a strong cup of joe and then take a nap immediately afterward, the caffeine will kick in after your ideal 20-minute sleepytime. This will wake you up naturally and jolt you out of a post-snooze daze.
CHOOSE YOUR NAP SPOT
While couches and park benches are optimal nap territory, you can also reap the same benefits with your head on your desk or your feet on the dashboard. Or, as weird as it sounds, even a non-occupied, recently cleaned toilet cubicle can provide ten minutes of poorly lit snoozedom.
Although dorky eye masks are best left to long plane flights, napping in a darkened room allows you to fall asleep faster by boosting your melatonin production. To wake up more quickly afterward, do the opposite and sit in the sun for five minutes—the light will help diminish those same levels and reduce tiredness.
We’re not suggesting you stow an inflatable mattress, frothed milk and a binky under your desk, but keeping some napping supplies such as a small pillow, a blanket (as your temperature drops while sleeping) and earplugs can do wonders.
Before dozing, eating anything high in magnesium such as bananas or almonds will relax your muscles (bananas also contain tryptophan, which helps convert melatonin, as do dairy products). Miso soup and other foods high in amino acids also aid melatonin production and anything loaded with protein will likewise help you stay asleep.
CONVINCE YOUR BOSS
Naturally, the idea of sleeping on the job may not impress most supervisors, but how can so many grandpas (and Spanish siesta-ers) have it wrong? A quick power nap has been proven to increase alertness and fine motor skills, boost creativity and can reduce the risk of heart disease by 37 percent. If your bosses aren’t keen on the idea, then tell them the Ministry for Health in France has considered creating a 15-minute legal nap break to boost national productivity. Oui.