With winter comes the desire to sleep. Fortunately, snoozing in the afternoon under a warm blanket is one of those rare indulgences that is actually good for you. It builds on the benefits of the power nap—the shut-eye discreetly caught at work, in the cinema or at other opportune in-between moments that leaves one refreshed—while also following the natural inclination to slow down with the change of season.
The cold weather nap is best enjoyed from the comfort of a warm nook. Burrow into a sofa cushion or a soft pillow. Cocoon in a nest of blankets. Curl up with a mug of hot cocoa or mulled cider, a notebook for jotting down thoughts, and a book. (Reading is the perfect companion to sleeping; it sets the stage for dreams.)
Then there is the sleep you slip into without much foresight, following time spent outdoors or a rich meal. The kind where you rest your head for a moment and awake some time later, momentarily groggy but ultimately rested (imagine how a bear must feel in spring…). Here are some ideas for mastering the perfect nap:
- Aim to sleep for an hour to 90 minutes, the optimal time for completing a full REM cycle, which improves a sense of alertness and even creativity.
- Napping between 1pm and 3pm are said to be the magic hours, balancing nighttime sleep and daytime activities.
- Try to wake at least three hours before bedtime to avoid staying up too late. On that note, don’t have caffeine 4-7 hours before sleeping.