Don’t exceed 25 minutes. In fact, keeping your nap under 20 minutes is best. If you let yourself nap longer you risk going into a deeper sleep state, and when you wake up you’ll definitely just feel worse. Keeping your nap short allows your brain to reset and rest, without the nap hangover.
Try a “caffeine nap” when you really need to change to course of your day in one 20 minute break. How to: quickly drink a cup of (slightly cooled) coffee and go straight to napping. The coffee should be kicking in right as you’re waking up!
Don’t nap after 4pm. Napping after 4pm is definitely going to screw up your nighttime sleep. Plus, after 4:00 can’t you just see the light at the end of the tunnel?! Save your sleep and plan for an early bedtime.
Even a 10 minute nap can be effective! You may have a busy day, but try to prioritize your wellbeing by fitting in a short nap if you need it.
If you’re sick or coming down with something, napping is definitely for you! Studies show that sleep is one of the most effective tools we can use to combat sickness. Powering through your sickness without allowing yourself to rest is only going to make you sicker for longer. Also, people combating sickness should ignore the 20 minute rule and allow themselves a longer nap if possible! Try to stick to full REM cycles (90 minute increments).
If you have trouble turning off your mind for a nap and never actually make it to sleep before your alarm goes off- come prepared. Use headphones with white noise and have a sleep mask handy. It’ll be way easier to get the zzz’s you need.
Make sure you nap in a room with a comfortable temperature. Advice is typically that nighttime sleep should occur in a room around 65 degrees, but your napping environment should be a little more comfortable. Have a space that's comfortable to sleep with just a light blanket vs. getting all snuggled up in bed. You don’t want to make it harder for yourself to get back up and at it!