7 Habits of Highly Effective Nappers

Deconstructing the fine art of napping

When’s the last time you indulged in an afternoon nap? Too busy, you say? Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, JFK and John D. Rockefeller were all dedicated nappers – every day. If these busy, highly accomplished men can make time for a nap, why can’t you?

Although most of us hang our hat on our ability to function normally on very little sleep, there’s strong research to support the humble nap. One study from California studied the relationship between naps and workers for 25 years and say 92.5% of workers increased productivity, creativity and problem-solving skills after a short afternoon nap.

Coffee might be quicker, but napping comes more naturally.

Our internal clocks are programed to slow down twice in a 24-hour period. We feel naturally sleepy when it’s dark outside but the mid-afternoon slump is natural too. Trouble is, most of us fight the afternoon nap with mega-doses of caffeine rather than surrendering to it, even though 20 minutes of sleep can energize us for the remainder of the day.

If you’re considering swapping out caffeine for an afternoon quickie, follow these 7 habits for making the most of your naptime.

7 highly effective nap habits

1.    Give yourself permission

This is the first and most important step in a successful nap. Understand that your work will never be done and that a nap will help you be more productive and creative. Allow your mind this time to rest so you can finish your day strong.

2.    Choose your nap spot

Suss out an over-sized chair, comfortable sofa in a cool, dark room – or even your own bed. Also known as napnomic devices, the cushion and blanket you choose are equally important. If you’re napping at work, find a spot where you can relax and not worry about being jarred awake.

3.    Drink a cup of cool coffee

It might sound strange to drink coffee before sleep but there’s a simple explanation. It takes approximately 20 minutes for caffeine to travel from your stomach to your blood stream – the perfect nap length. A cup of coffee before you lie down gives your mind time rest before the caffeine begins blazing its trail. Great way to beat the after-nap groggies, right?

4.    Consider timing

Although most research suggests that an afternoon nap won’t interfere with nighttime sleep, the later in the afternoon you nap, the bigger the risk. Schedule your nap early in the afternoon, when you’re naturally groggy.

5.    Set an alarm

Most people wake up naturally after a nap but if you’re sleep-deprived, you might need to train your body to wake up at a scheduled time. Use your smartphone to set a gentle wake-up call rather than a blaring alarm. If you’re so exhausted that a loud alarm is necessary, you might want to look at your overall sleep strategy

6.    Give yourself time to wake up

If you’ve enjoyed a coffee beforehand, your nap hangover should be minimal – but it’s still a good idea to inch back into your day rather than jumping headfirst into it. Enjoy a big glass of water and stretch out your muscles.

7.    Plan tomorrow’s nap

Even successful nappers often miss this step. Only you can carve out napping opportunities in your day – and the only way to do that is it to plan ahead. Even if you decide not to take advantage of the opportunity to sleep in the afternoon, you’ll appreciate the breathing room you’ve carved out.

Ready to practice the fine art of napping? We’d love to hear how it works for you and if you have any additional tips. Happy napping! 


Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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Can a Good Night’s Sleep Make You Smarter?

5 ways sleep (and your mattress) affect your brain 

Does sleep affect how ‘smart’ you feel? How many hours of sleep do you need to feel ‘smart’? Ever “slept on it” and woke up with a smart solution to your challenge or problem?

Scientists believe that our brains use sleep to sort and clean – much like the nightshift crew at Target cleans up after a busy day of selling. The aisles are tidied, everything’s put away and the stuff that’s not selling is moved to the backroom. When we don’t get the sleep we need, our messy brains actually start to fall apart, as seen through brain imaging technologies.

So how can you sleep smarter?

If being smart is tied to better sleep, quality and quantity is tied directly to your mattress. A 2011 National Sleep Foundation survey of 1,500 Americans found that 92% of us feel a comfortable mattress is very important to a good night’s sleep. And yet so many people climb into a bed that’s more of a torture device than a soothing sanctuary.

You wouldn’t get into a car without brakes, right? You wouldn’t tolerate a fridge that couldn’t keep food cool, right? But night after night, many of us climb into a bed that’s not only killing our chance of a good night’s sleep – it’s actually making us stupid.

If your mattress has seen better nights, we’ve found 5 benefits of sleeping on a new mattress.

1. A new mattress can zap your stress

“In a small 2009 study, 59 healthy men and women slept for 28 consecutive nights on their regular mattresses, then another 28 nights on new, medium-firm mattresses. They were asked to evaluate their stress levels based on factors like worrying, racing thoughts, nervousness, irritability, headaches, trembling and more. The new beds resulted in “a significant decrease in stress,” according to the study, possibly because of the related increase in sleep quality and decrease in pain associated with the firmer setup.” Read more: HuffPost.com.

2. A new mattress can soothe a hurting back

Sore and aching backs send more people to doctors than any other single complaint and the busier we get, the more we suffer. Sitting all day at a desk or standing in heels wreaks havoc on spinal alignment and sadly, we’re just not exercising enough to undo that damage. Sleep can help heal the abuse we throw at our backs but most of us don’t sleep on a supportive enough mattress to get the job done. And when we don’t give our backs the rest they need, mornings can be painful. Read more: Restonic.com.

3. A new mattress can help you lose weight

While you weren’t sleeping, your body cooked up a perfect recipe for weight gain. Skimping on sleep sets your brain up to make bad decisions. It dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the locus of decision-making and impulse control. So it’s a little like being drunk. You don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions. When you’re short on sleep, it’s easy to lean on a large latte to get moving. You might be tempted to skip exercise (too tired), get takeout for dinner, and then turn in late because you’re uncomfortably full. Read more: WebMD.com.

4. A new mattress can help reduce inflammation and pain

Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging all have strong ties to inflammation. If you sleep less than six hours a night, your blood levels of inflammatory proteins may be higher than people who sleep more. Show your heart some love – put it to bed. Read more: Restonic.com

5. A new mattress can make you happier

A change in your sleep habits is one of the most common effects of depression. Lack of sleep can start before depression, be a symptom of depression, and make depression worse. “Depression and sleep are closely related,” says Prashant Gajwani, MD, associate professor and vice chairman of clinical affairs in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. “Depression is a brain illness, and it affects many types of brain functions, including the sleep-wake cycle. Once this biologic clock has been disturbed, it can make sleep even more irregular and that adds to the depression. It can become a vicious cycle for many people.” Read more: EverydayHealth.com.

What’s the cost of a good night’s sleep?

If you spent $2,000 on a new mattress (for example) and slept comfortably on that mattress for 7 years, the cost of healthy sleep would be $1.27 per night – less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee in the morning…

If you’re ready for a new mattress, we’d love to help you find the right one for you. Visit our Find a Retailer page and we’ll locate a store close by where you can lie on our mattresses and talk to a trained sales professional. Use these links to begin your online research:


Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.