Caffeine use is at a record high. Our electronic blue light is tricking our brain to think it is daytime. And Apple TV is launching a new streaming service. If we thought our sleep cycles were in a dismal state already, what hope do we have now?
It’s not just new mothers that are in 700 hours of sleep deficit but almost 40 percent of Australians are noted at getting inadequate snooze time each night which means entering the day already in debt.
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We are living in an energy crisis. (... If you hadn’t guessed already looking at all the latest high-tech gadgets and adaptogenic mushroom powders to help us feel more awake.) Beyond all the super-booster hype, here is one remedy that you don’t have to buy at a health food store. In Spanish they call it: siesta.
Psychologist and author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, Sarah C. Mendnick, is changing the way we think about sleeping on the job. Her research has discovered that a simple daytime rest can increase alertness, boost creativity, reduce stress, improve cognitive function, keep you looking younger, elevate mood and strengthen memory. And, it is free, non-toxic and includes no side effects. Power naps even outperformed the trusty 3pm caffeine hit. And yet in theory napping sounds so simple but it eludes most of us day to day simply because we don’t prioritise it.
Here are Mendnick’s tips on how to manifest your daydreams...
Mednick recommends napping six hours after waking to align with your circadian rhythm. This will break your day into two parts and make you more productive either side of the snooze.
Research suggests a 90-minute nap can have the same benefits as a complete night’s sleep by improving memory consolidation, creativity and deeper thinking. However it isn’t for everyone. If you wake up groggy, try a 15-minute shutdown instead. This will give you the perfect pick-you-up without that feeling of morning fog.
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Create a ritual
Just like our night time rituals that can be as easy as dinner, shower, tea and bed. So too can a nap ritual send signals to your brain that it is time to chill. Simple ideas can be anywhere from putting in earplugs, setting your alarm or playing a meditation app. Whatever it is, just do it on repeat.
Set the scene for your daytime sleep. Wherever you are make the light dark (or BYO eye mask) and set your phone and emails to silent. Most bosses aren’t up with Google’s nap pods so find a place you feel safe to sleep. Mednick is pro lunchtime car naps (just make sure to lock the doors).