National Lazy Day is August 10th—consider it the perfect excuse for a little shut-eye.
National Lazy Day may be upon us, but napping is anything but lazy: It’s smart! Albert Einstein napped; so did Margaret Thatcher and Salvador Dali. With research indicating that naps have many proven benefits—including boosting alertness, aiding memory, and fending off colds—there are plenty of reasons to schedule some midday R&R.
If you don’t get enough sleep at night, a nap can give you that essential energy boost to power through your afternoon. And if you already sleep well at night, a nap can turbocharge your workday, workout, and everything in between. It’s truly a game-changer.
Here’s how to make the most of your next nap:
1. Find a good spot.
Ideally, you want a dark room where you can lie down. Your bedroom is perfect because you can ensure everything is just the way you like it, from dim lighting to clean, soft sheets. (Be sure to set an alarm clock, as napping in the spot where you sleep at night can trick your body into oversleeping.) If home isn’t possible, look for a couch in a room where you can turn off the lights or use an eye mask, and shut the door. Don’t forget to bring a blanket in case you get chilly.
2. Block out noise.
Whether it’s office chatter or honking horns on the street, sounds from the outside world can make getting quality rest near-impossible. If silence isn’t an option, DIY your soundproofing via earplugs or cushy headphones and a white noise app.
3. Time it right.
A 15 to 30 minute nap is enough to improve energy for many people. 60 minutes will give you a mental boost, while 90 minutes takes you through a full cycle of REM sleep, which can help with deeper creative thinking. But these suggestions aren’t one-size-fits-all: If you regularly feel groggy after your nap, it’s not working for you. Try dozing for a shorter or longer period of time and see what happens.
4. Don’t nap too close to bedtime.
Early to mid-afternoon—say, 1pm to 3pm—is the sweet spot for most of us, though this can vary based on what time you get up in the morning, when you eat lunch, and how action-packed your days are. When in doubt, err on the earlier side to avoid interfering with your sleep at night.
5. Reboot your body after.
Create a mini-ritual to ease yourself back into the day. For example, you might drink some tea, splash water on your face, and step outside for a minute. The point is to do whatever you need so that you can emerge refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on the world.