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The big snooze Part 2. How to achieve the perfect day-time nap.

In the second part of ‘The Big Snooze’ series we look at the benefits of napping, why companies are now encouraging their staff to nap, and how you can plan your own daytime doze to perfection. Students love them. Children hate them. Cats have turned them into fine art. For everybody in between, the nap is a tricky thing to master. Humans are fairly unique amongst mammals. Not only are we the only animals to wear clothing, write books and watch the X-Factor – we’re also one of just a few species who follow a ‘monophasic’ sleeping pattern. This means we have only one distinct period of sleep every 24-hours. Most of us are awake during the day, then sleep for a single stretch during the night. But now, in a world of TV on demand, 24-hour connectivity and electric lighting that single stretch of sleep is getting shorter. This is leaving many of us overtired during the day.
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Sleeping lady image

Playing catch up

It’s recommended that adults should aim for around eight hours1 of uninterrupted sleep every night. According to recent figures Britons are, on average, only achieving 6.8 hours.2

A lie-in at the weekend might be your solution to continual tiredness – but is there a way to top-up your energy levels, without spending too much of your valuable free-time tucked up in bed?

Lady sat on sofa
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There’s a nap for that

If your nights aren’t giving you the rest you need to keep you from sleepwalking through the day, the answer could lie in the art of the daytime nap.

A well-rested employee is a more productive employee. Using this logic, many successful businesses are encouraging their staff to take naps, when needed, during working hours.

Even if your boss doesn’t encourage you to catch 40-winks under the desk during your lunch-hour you can catch-up on that all important sleep at the weekends. But instead of sleeping in, set yourself up for the perfect nap.

Location, location, location

Getting to sleep when you’re uncomfortable is almost impossible, so for a quick and efficient nap, you should make sure you’re in a comfortable chair, sofa, or even in bed.

It’s not impossible to fall asleep in an upright position3, but the more horizontal you can position yourself the better. Recliners and recliner sofas allow you to stretch your body out comfortably, without running the risk of sleeping too deeply and waking up later than you intended to.

Set the scene

Just because it’s the daytime, it doesn’t mean the rules of sleep don’t apply. For a revitalising nap, you’re going to want to minimise light, noise and disruption.

At work this can be difficult and can only achieved if you have a private office, a quiet staff room or an empty meeting room – together with a cooperative boss. A comfortable chair and an eye mask can help, but be sure you set an alarm. A nap in your lunch hour may be acceptable, but snoring your way through the rest of the afternoon could get you in trouble.

If you’re at home, it’s a lot more straightforward. Pull the curtains, close the door and let anyone who might barge in know ahead of time that you’re taking a little nap. Spray a cushion with some lavender oil and pop it behind you on your recliner sofa. You’ll be nodding off in no time.

Time it right

So, you’re comfortably stretched out on your recliner sofa, the blinds are down, the room is quiet and you’re drifting off to sleep. That’s the perfect nap, right?

Well, this is where the science of sleep comes in. One of the most important things about taking naps is how you time them. Sleep for too long and you’ll wake up grouchy and disoriented. Take them too late in the day, and you might struggle to drift off when you go to bed at night.

The hormones which influence our bodies’ sense of tiredness tend to spike during the day between two and four in the afternoon, causing the mid-day dip in energy which many people complain of. So, if you’re looking for a quick power nap, this is the perfect time – you’re likely to fall asleep faster as your body’s already feeling tired.

Equally vital to a refreshing nap is how long you allow yourself to snooze. Our bodies work through set cycles while we sleep, moving from light to deep sleep, and into REM. If you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep cycle you’re likely to feel groggy and, surprisingly, more tired than you were before.4 For maximum efficiency, either make sure your nap only lasts for 20-minutes (so your brain doesn’t enter deep sleep) or set an alarm to wake you after 90-minutes, and complete a full cycle of sleep.

A natural nap-titude

A 20 - 30-minute nap can reduce stress, increase alertness and improve your mood.5 But napping isn’t for everyone. Some people feel they simply don’t have time, and some struggle to fall asleep anywhere but their own beds.

If you feel napping is something which could benefit you, try some of the tips above. There are plenty of apps designed to help you drift off, and some even measure your sleep cycle to wake you at just the right time. And for the ultra-committed, our collection of fabric recliner sofas could provide you with the perfect spot for a snooze.

Don’t let one night of bad rest affect the rest of your week. Learn the fine art of napping. It could be easier than you think to catch up on a little lost sleep.

1https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/sleep#ecWB04rTMLKE1crw.97

2https://www.rsph.org.uk/filemanager/root/siteassets/ourwork/areasofwork/wakinguptothehealthbenefitsofsleep/rsphsleep_report.pdf

3http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8112619.stm

4http://www.prevention.com/health/sleep-energy/sleep-myths-making-you-tired

5https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping

Rebecca Maloy, Beds Buyer
Rebecca Maloy Beds Buyer

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