Is it an act of self-sabotage, or am I so exhausted that even though I have reminded myself 80 gazillion times, I still forget to disengage my alarm on Friday night? Or maybe, I really do need to get up. After a string of early mornings and late nights, I crave my unstructured weekends and sleeping an extra hour or two past my usual wake up time. It makes sense to catch up on our slumber, right? But the scientists can’t agree. Some say you can compensate for lost hours, while others maintain we further confuse our already messed up internal circadian biological clocks.
The answer is to opt for an afternoon nap. The experts recommend aiming for one of 3 optimal nap times – 20 min, 60 min, and 90 min snooze breaks. They also suggest napping during the week. In a formal office environment, the idea was inconceivable, but working from home has created many opportunities and unforeseen perks. Shared calendars are excellent tools, and I have been using them to block my naptimes, the same way I schedule my meetings. Ok, I don’t label them as naps on the official calendar, but nobody questions my lunch break, even if it occasionally stretches to an hour and a half. Needing to eat is never an issue, but you can’t live without sleep either.
I’ve made another alteration to improve my nighttime rituals. I lowered the temperature in my bedroom. In the winter months, it’s as easy as opening the window. I remember in college, we had cold air dorms. They were big attic type rooms with beds, few lights, and no heat. I visited friends who lived in an old farmhouse in the country. The upstairs heating never worked. Frost grew on the inside of the windows, and I could see my breath. Snug under a down comforter, I never slept better. Experts say a drop in body temperature is a signal for sleep, and a room temp of between 60-67F (15-19C), should do the trick.
I’m enjoying my secret lunchtime rendezvous with my bed and the cool fresh nighttime air. Snuggling under the covers is the icing on the cake of my unexpected guilty pleasure.
Have you tried afternoon naps?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer