Taking a siesta is always a bit of a gamble, in my experience. No matter how hard I try, I can never seem to predict whether a few moments of shut-eye will be just the thing to invigorate me, or will just make me feel more tired. Luckily, a professional napper (dream job, IMO) has some
tips for napping during the day that will ensure you don't need another nap just to recover from your first one. Am I the only one who's done that? No? Bueller?
Christopher Lindholst, nap expert and CEO of MetroNaps, knowing the right way to take a nap is key to waking up refreshed. And the potential benefits are more than just extra energy, he tells Elite Daily in an email. "If you take a nap regularly (at least three times a week), you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by almost 37 percent," he says. "There are also studies that have shown other cognitive benefits in terms of memory improvement and learning."
Unfortunately, though, even if you're someone who's lucky enough to have an entire hour to devote to an afternoon nap, Lindholst says you shouldn't nap that long if you want to maintain a healthy sleep schedule overall. "An afternoon nap should only be 15 to 20 minutes before 5 p.m.," he explains. "For people who are otherwise normal sleepers, brief naps won't negatively affect night time sleep."
If you're past due for your nap, here's what to do to make sure it's as perfect as possible.
First of all, it's important to choose the right time of day to take a nap, Lindholst explains. "Your sleep pressure and circadian rhythm dictate drowsiness in the early or mid afternoon, so this is the optimal time for a brief rest," he tells Elite Daily.
Pushing a nap past 5 p.m., on the other hand, will probably make your shut-eye much more likely to mess with your nighttime sleep, says Lindholst.
Drink a cup of coffee (yes, really)
It may seem counterintuitive, but
drinking a cup of coffee right before your nap could help boost your post-nap energy, says Lindholst. "It takes about 20 minutes for the caffeine to metabolize in your system," he explains, "so upon waking, you'll get the benefit of the nap and the caffeine."
If you need some extra help waking up after a snooze, Lindholst recommends applying mint lotion, or even chewing mint gum, as the intense flavor/scent will perk you right up.
Put your feet up and relax — literally
Once you're ready for some middle-of-the day shut-eye, help yourself wind down by making sure you get plenty of blood to your heart. "Lie down and elevate your feet," Lindholst suggests. "This will reduce pressure on your cardiac system and relax your body."
Personally, I think silky smooth eye masks are absolutely adorable, but I never remember to put one on during the night. If you're waiting for an excuse to feel all ~fancy~ while you nap, try putting an eye mask on, because not only is it cute, but according to Lindholst, it'll help make sure you're not distracted by anything around you while you're trying to doze off.
Set the mood with some music
If you want to make napping a more regular part of your schedule, start training your brain by creating a napping playlist, Lindholst suggests. He recommends choosing songs that don't have vocals to keep distractions to a minimum, but of course, what's most important is that you find music that's totally and utterly relaxing for you, personally.
"You will begin to associate the music with your nap sessions, and it will help you relax more quickly," he tells Elite Daily.
Before you decide to take a nap, Lindholst says it's crucial to make sure that you can actually sleep uninterrupted. After all, there's nothing worse than being woken up by a text or phone when you still have five minutes left to snooze.
"Turn off the ringer on your smartphone so you are not disturbed," Lindholst explains. For a multifunctional app, he recommends checking out
Restworks, available on the App Store and Google Play. Since it has an intuitive timer, soothing music, and even guided meditation, it'll be sure to send you off to dreamland in no time.