Queering Naps: The Queer Guide to the Perfect Nap

Queering Naps: The Queer Guide to the Perfect Nap

When you’re used to always being on the go, taking a nap is one of those self-care tips that might seem like an excuse to be lazy.

What’s weird about that is short naps can actually make you more productive, but much more importantly they can help you feel better.

The National Sleep Foundation says that the following stigmas prevent society from enjoying the many amazing benefits of napping:

People who nap are thought to:

  • be lazy
  • lack ambition
  • be children, sick, or elderly

Those perceptions are based on capitalist, ableist, and ageist judgements, and in this article, we’re going to take napping back for all people who want a free way to feel better.

What happens when you’re tired

When you’re tired, you’re just not at your best.

  • You feel emotionally unstable, and can get angry more easily
  • Your memory doesn’t work as well
  • Your decision-making skills get worse
  • You have more difficulty focusing
  • Your immune system doesn’t work as well
  • You feel hungrier

Wow, that all sounds terrible. Let’s avoid all of those as much as we can.

One way you can take care of yourself and avoid the consequences of feeling tired is to take a nap!

What happens when you take a short nap

When you feel rested after a nap, you feel more ready to bring the best of yourself.

  • Your mood is improved
  • You feel more alert
  • You think more clearly
  • You’re more creative
  • You perform better at whatever you’re trying to do

Hey, that all sounds great! Seriously, those are all wonderful things to have going on.

So, what’s the best way to take a nap?

There’s actually a lot that goes into a good nap.

From how long you nap, to what time of day, to what position you nap in.

But probably the most important part of a good nap is how long it lasts.

How long to nap

How long you nap will determine how you feel when you wake up. Here’s some guidelines to help you decide how long you choose to snooze.

  • 10 – 20 minutes – this is the ideal length for a nap that helps you feel more alert and energized, and doesn’t leave you feeling groggy
  • 30 – 60 minutes – if you nap for this long, you increase your mental abilities, but you’re likely to feel a bit sleepy and disoriented when you first wake up, but the sleepiness will go away in about 30 minutes
  • 90 minutes – a nap this long gives you a complete REM cycle and leaves you feeling refreshed when you wake up

When to nap

The best time of day for you to nap depends on the time when you woke up.

That will often happen after lunch, when you might notice yourself feeing sleepier.

Whatever your sleep schedule is like, you can calculate the optimum time of day for you to take a nap with this Nap Wheel.

Just type in the time that you woke up, and follow the instructions to see the best time for a nap.

(Okay, so that nap wheel is actually kind of confusing, but give it a whirl)

If you missed the optimum time in the day for nap efficiency, but you still want to take a nap—that’s okay!

That’s a suggestion for how to work with our daily cycles, but you have your own unique daily cycle. Listen to the messages that your body gives you about feeling tired and wanting rest.

And remember, taking a longer nap or a nap later on in the day can lead to difficulty getting good sleep at night.

Best position to nap

The best position for sleeping is on your back. Sleeping on your back allows your body to rest without extra pressure on any of your parts. But this position isn’t recommended for people with sleep apnea.

Although sleeping on your back is the best position to let your body rest, most people sleep on their side in the fetal position. If you’re one of those people, try lengthening your body to prevent feeling sore and place a pillow between your knees to ease any strain on your hips.

These positions apply to naps, and also when you sleep at night.

Set yourself up to snooze

Find a cozy spot where you feel safe and won’t be disturbed while you nap.

Ideally, you want a spot where you can lie down and the light is dim or dark. If the only space you have to nap is brightly lit, I use an eyemask. (That is actually the exact eyemask I use, and it does a better job of blocking out light than any other eyemask I’ve used, and it’s really cushy and comfortable.)

To block out any sounds you don’t want getting in the way of your napping. You can make your own organic ear plugs.

Or if you don’t want to put anything inside your ear, you can put on a white noise track.

To take a nap that will leave you feeling refreshed, you’ll want to set an alarm. If you don’t have an alarm, this video is conveniently timed with white noise for a nap followed by an alarm.

Get comfortable and cover yourself up with a blanket and your head resting on a pillow.

As you settle down, try breathing through your left nostril, and consciously relaxing the muscles in your body. This will help to bring your body into a more restful state as you get ready to doze.

What if you can’t fall asleep?

That’s okay! You still benefit from letting your mind and body relax.

Just closing your eyes and taking a break from whatever else is going on gives your system a chance to refresh itself.

It can take several minutes to actually fall into sleep, so don’t worry if during your naptime you don’t feel like you’re napping.

Just by setting yourself up for a few restful minutes, you can know that you’re doing yourself a big favor.

What’s known about napping for different lengths of time

There’s been research that regularly taking naps longer than 40 minutes can be related to an increased chance of health problems.

The same study also found that regularly taking naps shorter than 30 minutes was connected to a lower likelihood of disease.

Once in a while, a long nap is going to be the best thing you can do for yourself. So don’t feel concerned about it the occasional luxuriously lazy long nap, but if you do find yourself taking longer naps regularly you might want to talk to a healer who you trust, whether that’s your doctor, a healer, or a sleep professional.

When napping goes wrong

While naps can be powerful ways to help you out during the day, they can also leave you feeling out of it if not done right.

Potential for “Napcidents”:

  • Naps that last longer than 10-20 minutes, but are less than a full 90-minute cycle can leave you feeling groggy when you wake up.
  • Naps that are later on in the day, or that last for longer times can have a negative impact on how you sleep at night.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night (insomnia), taking naps, and especially taking longer naps, can make it take longer to fall asleep.

What if you can’t take a nap?

If you need to pick up your energy but don’t have the time or space for a nap, try breathing through your right nostril for 2-3 minutes. This can help you to feel more alert and awake when you can’t take a nap.

Certain essential oils can help to give you a boost in your feelings of energy.

And here are some other suggestions for sources of natural energy you can try.

There’s also whatever you know how to do to help get yourself through the day until you are able to rest. Sometimes going for a cup of coffee is the best solution you have in that moment, and that’s okay.

Do what feels right for you.

And honestly, writing this article has convinced me to start working a short nap into my daily schedule.

Happy napping!

*I don’t have affiliate links set up with any of the products here. I’m just sharing them because I can either personally recommend the item or want to support the creator.

Sources: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping/, https://www.romper.com/p/7-things-that-happen-to-your-brain-when-youre-exhausted-need-sleep-1527,  lifehacker.com/how-long-to-nap-for-the-biggest-brain-benefits-1251546669, https://sleep.org/articles/best-sleep-position/http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319


 

Thanks for reading! Try taking more short naps and see how that goes for you. And if you think this is interesting, please go ahead and share it with a friend who might also be into it.

Feel free to send us a note saying how it’s going for you. Or if you have any questions about your experience with it, feel free to ask, and we’ll get back to you.

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