How to take a nap without spoiling the day: the 4 best tips

Taking a nap can be a good way to recharge your batteries. If you're a fan of a good rest break, knowing how to master this art is important for the rest of your day to go well.


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Nap is a very popular tradition in certain countries. If you also have this habit, you are not alone. There are many people who do. Even celebrities like John Kennedy, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci were siesta fans.


What is the origin of the siesta?

A nap is a period of short rest, which usually takes place after lunch. The word sixth originates from the Latin expression sixth hour, which corresponds to the sixth hour starting in the morning, that is, noon. 

Of course what should be going through your head right now is the famous siesta Spanish, right? Well, the Spaniards are great ambassadors for this practice. But they are not the only ones.

China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India and Italy are some of the countries where siesta is a frequent habit.

A siesta is traditionally practiced in some countries, especially those where the weather is hot and where to eat heavier foods, which contributes to drowsiness.



But now you ask: where does it really come from? How did this habit start? Why did you ever believe that it would be important to stop in the middle of the afternoon to rest?

Well the answer is very simple. We are well aware that summer is quite hot in regions such as Spain. Even here in Portugal it is sometimes a real greenhouse, right?

When we talk about extremely hot, we always remember those days with 40º in the shade, when the sky is open, the sun is shining and the weather is very dry. And that was how, exposed to heat, peasants worked in the mid-twentieth century.

To avoid falling over the side due to the extreme heat, these workers have begun to get used to taking a nap after lunch, which, as you surely know, is when the heat starts to tighten.

That's why they preferred sleep in the hottest hours of the day and work in the cooler hours. 

The interesting thing is that fashion has caught on and, nowadays, this is a tradition that remains. There is even a law in Valencia that guarantees the right to take a 3-hour rest break.


Desire to go to sleep after lunch: why?

It's a really handy question, isn't it?

As we have already mentioned, a siesta appears as a reaction of our body to the hot weather and lunch. Do you feel easy right after lunch? We'll explain to you why.

When we finish lunch there are several things that happen:

  • Bloodstream increases in the gastrointestinal region
  • Oxygen goes mostly to that zone
  • The body produces hydrochloric acid to facilitate digestion
  • There is an increase in glucose in the brain, which will give you that feeling of fullness

All of this will result in reduced brain activity, making you feel drowsy — a normal, physiological reaction.


What are the benefits?

Taking a nap after lunch can bring several benefits, such as:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased cognitive ability and assertiveness
  • Increase from memory and learning
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased problem solving skills
  • Reduction of stress and fatigue
  • Improved logical thinking 
  • mood improvement 

Only advantages, isn't it? But it's not all roses. If you abuse this practice, the amendment may be worse than the sonnet.


Tips for the best naps

So that the nap doesn't affect the rest of your day, you should pay attention to a few lines that you shouldn't cross.


Take a 20-minute nap

20 minutes is the ideal time for a nap that will leave you feeling relaxed, without feeling like a zombie. 

A 20-minute nap will give you about 3 minutes in the phase 2 sleep cycle, which has been shown to have a healing effect. 

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Creates the ideal environment to fall asleep fast

To have a good nap, you should be able to fall asleep quickly, so that you can make the best use of it. This is what you must create the best conditions to get you to sleep a wink at a glance.

Of course, this all has to do with where you are. If you are at work or at home, you should adapt these strategies to your environment:

  • Find a calm and cool place
  • If you get along with the background noise, you can use white noise
  • If possible, dim the light wherever you are
  • Use an eye mask/visor to sleep


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Avoid naps if you don't feel tired

Do you have extra time and plan on taking a nap after lunch? You should evaluate this carefully in case you feel a lot of energy.

If you are not tired, taking a nap can be harmful for you. Because you feel good and alert, you can feel frustrated if you can't fall asleep. And that could be worse for you. 

If you need a break, but you're not tired, it's better to go air and take a walk instead of taking a nap.


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Always set the same time for siesta

If you're going to take a nap, it's a good idea to choose the right time so that it doesn't spoil the rest of the day or interfere with the circadian rhythm.

The best nap time is between 8 to 9 hours after waking up.

On the other hand, it is also not advisable to take a nap too close to bedtime. You must not do this less than 4 to 5 hours beforehand. Otherwise, you'll have a harder time falling asleep at night.

For example, if you normally wake up at 7 am and go to sleep at 11 pm, the ideal would be to take a siesta around 4 or 5 pm.


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Drink coffee 30 minutes before six

Are you a coffee fan? Then this tip can work for you. 

If you can't go without coffee and if it has no effect on your sleep, you should drink it even before you start taking a nap. Caffeine takes 20 to 30 minutes to take effect, as this is the ideal length of a nap, as we have seen above. 

After this time, you will wake up easily from your nap and with the motivation and energy to continue the day.


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Don't get up right away when you wake up from your nap

Finished your nap and want to get back to your normal life? Don't jump off the bed or sofa. Relax, take the time to get better!

If you sleep correctly during your nap, you will feel energetic and ready to get going. But, calm down. Don't get up yet.

It may still take a few minutes for your body to feel ready. So stay a little longer. Think about the tasks you want to do for the rest of the day and draw up an action plan. 

Plan done? It takes a few more minutes and now you can get on with your life.


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But… attention!

If you usually have insomnia or a lot of difficulty getting to sleep a restful sleep, nap is not a good idea. When the cycle do are is unregulated, a nap can further interfere with your sleep at night.

If you follow these tips, you'll have the perfect combination to perform better in every aspect of your life, from the workplace to your social relationships. That's why it's not surprising that napping continues to be a way to recharge your brain.

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