napping

1. Abandon all-nighters - Foregoing sleep by cramming all night reduces your ability to retain information by up to 40%. If you can, mix in a nap somewhere to refresh your hippocampus.

2. It doesn’t mean what you think - If you know you have to pull an all-nighter, try a “prophylactic nap.” It’s a short nap in advance of expected sleep deprivation that will help you stay alert for up to 10 hours afterwards. 

3. You can’t avoid that down period after lunch by not eating - Human bodies naturally go through two phases of deep tiredness, one between 2-4 a.m. and between 1-3 p.m. Skipping lunch won’t help this period of diminished alertness and coordination. 

4. Pick the right time - After lunch in the early afternoon your body naturally gets tired. This is the best time to take a brief nap, as it’s early enough to not mess with your nighttime sleep. 

5. Hour naps are great - A 60-minute nap improves alertness for 10 hours, although with naps over 45 minutes you risk what’s known as “sleep inertia,” that groggy feeling that may last for half an hour or more.

6. But short naps are best - For healthy young adults, naps as short as 20, 10, or even 2 minutes can be all you need to get the mental benefits of sleep, without risking grogginess.

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Confession #14

I do NOT know how to take naps. It’s something that I’ve never been able to comprehend in college, let alone grade school. If my body touches my bed, I’m going to SLEEP for the next 5 to 6 hours and if I sleep during the day, I will be awake all fucking night… I wish I could be able to take those 30 minutes naps y'all love to brag about. Must be nice.

Naps should be 20 minutes or 90 minutes, and nothing in between.

We sleep in cyclical phases. Waking up during a deep sleep phase can cause sleep inertia, aka sleep drunkenness: that state of groggy disorientation that many of us know all too well. So, you want to wake up before deep sleep begins (generally by the 30-minute mark) or sleep through a full REM cycle, which takes about 90 minutes. That means you should set an alarm (or three) so you successfully rise at the right point in your sleep cycle.

Where to nap, when to nap and what to drink right before it