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5 Tips for Happy Napping

How to catch up on your ZZZs during the day with a power nap 

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Didn’t get enough sleep last night? Take a nap, suggests sleep researcher James B. Maas, Ph.D, who coined the term “power nap.” He’s found that a mere 15- to 20-minute nap helps people be significantly more productive, alert and cheerful the rest of the day. Some tips from Maas and Bill Anthony, Ph.D., author of The Art of Napping and cofounder of National Napping Day (the first Monday after daylight saving time begins):

1. Rest easy.
Do you say no to naps because you’re worried people will think you’re lazy? Say to those folks and to yourself, “Napping is good for health, mood and performance.”

2. Use napnomic devices.
That’s Anthony’s term for the things that help you nap. Babies have blankets. You might prefer a certain couch, pillow, eyeshades or pet cat.

3. No interruptions.
Lock the door and turn off the phone. If you’re afraid you’re going to be disturbed, you won’t have a quality nap. 

4. Your time.
Maas says naps should be either 20 to 30 or 90 to 100 minutes long. It takes 90 minutes to complete a sleep cycle. A 60-minute nap might interrupt deep sleep, causing sleep inertia (that groggy disoriented feeling right after you wake up).

5. Nap over?
Splash water on your face, take a walk or brush your teeth. Sleep inertia goes away within a few minutes. The benefits of a nap last for hours. 

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