I did a quick video on the best way to sleep, and that includes naps.
Sleeping is the best recovery tool, yet so many athletes abuse it by not using enough of it.
Here is the Executive summary for those who don’t have 4 minutes to watch the video.
- Sleep in multiples of your REM sleep cycle. If that is 90 minutes, then sleep 11?2, 3, 41?2, 6, 71?2 or 9 hours a night. Do NOT sleep 8 hours if your REM cycle is 90 minutes!
- Don’t wake up in the middle of your REM cycle (if you can avoid it)
- If you must wake up earlier than normal, be sure to wake up at the end of your REM cycle. So instead of your standard 71?2 hours a night, set your alarm for 6 hours. Or even 41?2 hours.
- Use technology aids like FitBits, Jawbone, or even your smartphone or mobile device to determine your REM sleep (plenty of free apps out there)
- Try using the above devices to wake you at the end of your REM cycle (I have not tried this).
- Choose between 20 minutes (i.e. powernap) or 90 minutes (i.e. full REM cycle nap)
- If you only have 1 free hour, choose a 20 minute nap
- Try an espresso (not a full coffee) before your 20 min nap. That’s the time it takes caffeine to get absorbed fully into the bloodstream, and ultimately, the blood-brain barrier. The reason for espresso is you can drink it in one gulp. When you wake up, you will be fully rested and alert. Of course, try this at home first and not the day of an important race or meeting!