In Hong Kong, a lot of people are big nappers for weekends, if they have time. But if you’re getting enough sleep at night, you actually don’t need a nap during the day.
The first rule of a nap is to keep it short or meditate if you’re feeling restless. Because if you nap for too long, you feel awful. And if you can’t nap but want to, you will feel awful. So meditation until you fall asleep helps for a much needed day-time nap.
The second rule, is that timing is important. The time in which you nap will determine what sleep stage you get. If you have a nap in Stage 2 sleep, you will wake up more alert. If you have a nap with rapid eye movement (REM), you get increased creativity. If you nap at 9 to 11am, then you will likely get REM in your nap. To get to Stage 3 to 4, you’ll want to target a nap between 2:30 to 5:30pm.
However, the perfect nap is between 1 to 3pm. That is similar to siestas in Spain. Because there’s a biological reason – our bodies want to nap between 1 to 3pm as we physically experience lower core temperatures at that time, in our body. That releases melatonin so we feel sleepy.