Take yourself back in time, back to when you were a child.
Those were the days of running around, playing with friends, and just having fun in the sun.
You would have so much fun that you would fight sleep.
And even when your parents told you to go take a nap, you told them that you were not tired so that you could keeping playing until you were so tired that you’d drift off in 10 seconds flat.
Now, look at your child self in the eye, and ask yourself an important question:
“What is wrong with you?”
Now as an adult, taking a nap whenever you want to is close to impossible, even if you happen to have the time.
There’s work, family obligations, errands and social commitments to attend to, making afternoon naps a luxury and pretty much a thing of the past.
But if you’re determined to reclaim your glory days of childhood napping — and you should be, considering how beneficial they are in help you recharge and stay on your game throughout the day, here are our top 7 habits of highly-effective nappers that to emulate:
1. Look for a peaceful nook to nap in
Some people prefer to work in offices with nap rooms or work from home. This way, they can conveniently leave their work desks, go to a bed or cozy nook for a quick nap.
However, for the majority of us who can only dream of doing so, there are ways you can catch some much-needed zzzzs right at your work desk.
For example, you can try to convince your employer to invest in nap-optimized reclining office chairs. A sensible employer will realise that this is a small price to pay for happy and energised employees.
There are also good IKEA chaise lounges make restful additions to the office.
At the very least, try investing in a good back cushion for yourself so that nap time is not hard on your back while your catching up on some shut-eye.
2. Invest in a high-quality eye mask
The trick to having an effective nap is to avoid all light, whether natural or unnatural.
If you do not have immediate access to light-blocking drapes or are exposed to glaring fluorescent white, you’re not going to sleep well, period.
Enter the eye mask.
A good eye mask is imperative to an effective nap, especially when outdoors or in settings with bright lights.
You will want something that is comfortable, does not harm your eyes, and can block out light from the top, sides and bottom, like this one from PrettyCare.
3. Use sound-blocking ear plugs
Apart from light, you will also want to block out sound to prevent your nap from being interrupted.
Like eye masks, a good set of ear plugs will be comfortable without irritating your ears.
As each ear canal is differently-sized in most people, soft foam ear plugs, like these ones from Flents are your best bet when it comes to blocking out sounds without irritating your ears.
Just be sure to replace your ear plugs every 2 weeks, since the foam will gather dirt as well as lose its ‘bounce’ and shape with continuous use, rendering them ineffective.
4. Get a comfy pillow
If you sleep best over your work desk, get a comfortable pillow to rest your head on at the very least.
As office surfaces can get dirty and grimy, remember to change your pillow covers once a week to keep it clean.
5. Nap at the same time daily
Humans are creatures of routine.
To turn your nap time into an effective daily habit, try dividing your day into ‘Before Nap’ and ‘After Nap’.
Then, choose a nap time when you know your energy is winding down so that you will have enough energy post-nap to keep going for the rest of the day.
6. Set a timer for 20 minutes
Science tells us that the optimal nap length of time is 20 minutes.
If you want improved alertness and a better mood throughout your day, 20 minutes is the amount of time that keeps you in the lighter stages of non-REM sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed.
Nap any longer and you’ll risk waking up feeling drowsy and agitated.
Your brain waves would have slowed down as you entered the deeper stages of sleep from 30 minutes and beyond. Wake up past this period and you aren’t likely to reap the benefits of taking naps in the first place.
7. Make nap time a priority
If you want your nap times to work their magic, you’ll need to treat them like you would treat an important meeting.
Otherwise, it is likely that you will postpone or cancel your nap time in favour of other things you think are ‘important’.
Block out a 30 minute time frame in your calendar (over half your lunch hour so you don’t feel guilty), and make sure your colleagues know not to disturb you at this hour.
Ready, set, snooze!
The right fabric is crucial for taking a great nap, and the best place to start is with a stylish, machine-washable sofa slipcover. Take our slipcover fabric samples for a test run here: