Disclaimer: If you have kids, like fellow blogger Deadbeat Mom, I caution you on reading further…
I love sleep. If my head hits the pillow at 11:30 p.m., I’m usually out within five minutes.
I suffer from occasional bouts of insomnia if I wake in the middle of the night, and let my mind wander with too many thoughts of past, present, and future.
I’ve even experienced a handful of episodes of sleep drunkenness, where I’ve walked across the room, turned the alarm off, and gone back to bed without recalling any of it (and wound up being late for work, or worse yet, completely missed my scheduled VIA train).
But even after a sound night’s sleep, chances are, it’s not enough for me. I still walk through most of the day feeling tired and would do much better if only Canada took up the tradition of the siesta. (Yes. I’ve had my health checked. I’ve also undergone a sleep study, where I stayed in a hotel-like room, had electrodes stuck to my scalp, and was observed for six hours, just to confirm that at then age 28, I didn’t have sleep apnea.)
A chiropractor once told me that I might be ‘one of those people’ that needs more than eight hours of rest per night But like most ‘busy’ people, I’m averaging less than that, less than 7.
So the weekends I make up for it. I try not to nap both days, but sometimes it just happens, especially if I know we have evening plans that will keep us out late.
I’ve mostly cut myself off from after-work napping, which, surprisingly, didn’t impact my normal sleep time, but usually left me groggy (and my husband would say, grumpy) in the hours in between.
So, with long history of weekend napping, here’s what makes an afternoon nap even better:
Get black-out curtains, so whether it’s 1 p.m or 4 p.m. (prime nap range), sleep is imminent when the sun, or even cloud covered light, isn’t peaking through. I’ll sometimes add a sleep mask.
Don’t ring the alarm
I’ve found that no alarm is the best when arousing from nap-time, but requires enough time for a one to two-hour nap-span. I’m no expert, but if I set an alarm, it always awakens me, mid-cycle, and it takes me longer to get out of bed. Otherwise, power-naps of 30 minutes, in non-blackout space, like the living room sofa, will do.
One of the best gifts I ever received was a Philips sunrise alarm clock that I always use in winter. Sometimes too much darkness doesn’t help when it’s actually time to get out of bed. And normally the sun clock will have you awake before the radio kicks on.
In the winter, especially, any home can feel dry with the heat turned on. Whether it’s a nap, or all-night sleep, a humidifier is great for keeping the airways hydrated and cutting down snoring (so I’m told).
Turn ON the ambient noise
If you live downtown like us, you can be distracted by the sounds of the street. The start of my nap is always a good time to run the wash, or dryer, just outside our bedroom, but even the hum of the humidifier or a fan, in the summer, will do.
Whether it’s getting your pajamas on, seeking warmth, or staying cool outside the covers, make it worth your while.
Do you like to nap on the regular? If so, what are your tips to make rest time even better?
Note: I just inherited an unused FitBit Flex and have started tracking my (mostly) non-restless sleep. FitBit users; how do you use your sleep information?