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4 tips to make the most of your nap

Woman takes a nap on her couch.
Blog

/ by UK HealthCare

Napping isn't just for children – studies suggest that one in three adults don’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night and are considered sleep deprived. Poor sleep decreases both physical and cognitive abilities, and it also increases the risk of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

With these facts in mind, it’s no wonder naps are being touted as a quick and effective way to get in some much-needed rest. While napping is not a substitute for a good night’s sleep, a short nap is proven to be beneficial for many people. Napping can give you an energy boost, make you more attentive, reduce stress and improve your overall mood.

In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, learn how to get the maximum benefits out of your nap:

1. Keep your nap short. The recommended amount of time to nap is only around 20-30 minutes. A short sleep session is more likely to give you the boost you need without making you feel foggy and even more lethargic.

2. Early afternoon is the optimal time. If possible, try to nap before 3 p.m. Napping later in the afternoon or evening is more likely to produce negative effects. Nap earlier to avoid interference with your normal sleep schedule.

3. Plan ahead if you know you’re going to be tired. If you know you are going to have an early or stressful day ahead of you, try to schedule some time in the afternoon where you can have a quick rest and re-charge.

4. Create a calm environment. The place where you decide to nap needs to be quiet, comfortable and dark. A peaceful environment will help you actually fall asleep so that you can make the most of your short nap.

If you often feel fatigued regardless of the amount of sleep or naps you get in, be sure to talk to your doctor. You might be suffering from the side effects of medication or have a sleep disorder.

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