Melanie Sykes - Happy Napping

Happy Napping

This habit of mine for waking at 5:30 AM is getting a bit silly now.

I’m an early bird, always have been, but 5:30 AM just feels a tad too early. I sometimes battle myself back to sleep, but to be honest, I do enjoy the extra few hours it gives me. I respond to emails, send messages, etc. and by the time it’s the start of business, I have dropped the kids off and am at the gym, having a phone free hour, whilst everyone else is responding.

However, the early mornings do have a knock on effect and by 1 PM I’m ready for a nap and if I can, I bloody well do. I have always enjoyed an afternoon nap, it feels really decadent and it usually only really last for about 20 minutes to 30 minutes maximum, but the benefits are huge.

Whenever we talk of afternoon naps, we think of babies and old people, but culturally some places believe in the ‘siesta’ and the after lunch nap is really integral to the productivity of the afternoon. It improves mood, alertness and performance, and that’s got to be good, right?

It does have a stigma attached to it though and if I mention my little habit of napping, it is often met with a few comments about being old bag, which does make me laugh. Yes, sometimes I think is it because of age, but the fact is that 20 minutes really does boost your energy levels. After a nap, I’m ready for the school run and all that comes after it; cooking, overseeing homework with the kids and any writing or emails I have to get through in the evening. Sleep gives me that extra push to get through the rest of the day.

Us humans are monophasic sleepers, which means we have two distinct periods of wakefulness and rest. Yet, it’s not actually proven that this is our natural way of sleeping. Obviously, if you work in an office, having an afternoon nap is impossible, but I think that we can all have a break to sit, close our eyes, relax and switch off the phone. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, try to allow yourself some time for rest or a bit of shut eye!

I think some people worry it will make them sluggish, that they won’t want to get up and it will totally disrupt their night-time sleep. But, in my experience, even when I set my alarm for 30 mins, my body clock wakes me before this and it doesn’t make me feel sluggish at all. I don’t wake feeling as though I could sleep for several more hours, in fact, I feel ready to take on the rest of the day.

You should try it if you are feeling a little bit tired, just go to bed, put everything down, get your clothes off, put on an eye mask and chill. Apparently, if you do, you’ll be in very good company. Famous nappers include JFK, Churchill and Napoleon, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

Melanie Sykes Signature