Allow me to take you back to a (perhaps distant) memory from yesteryear. Picture it: you went to a college with a big time football team. Game days were like a religion on campus -- the beers were cold, the games were high-energy and the more school colors you had on your body, the better. Life was good. Now, if your team had an early game on one of those crisp, fall Saturday mornings -- let's say, 11:00 a.m. -- you wanted to be up early so as not to miss the festivities.
On such days, by the time you wrapped up your pre-game parties, made the trek to the stadium and survived a whole four quarters of football, you were spent.
Enter: the mid-day nap. Or, as we in 2021 call it, the disco nap.
Simply put, a disco nap is a short little snooze you take in the middle of the day to get your body and mind ready for the rest of the day. This is different from a regular nap, you see, because it's strictly limited to a 20-30 minute window. None of that Sunday afternoon 2-3 hours nonsense (sorry).
“The ultimate goal is to have great sleep quantity and quality so that you don’t experience an afternoon slump and need to nap,” sleep specialist Whitney Roban, Ph.D. told Bustle. And obviously, in a dream world, that would be the case. But sometimes we just need a few extra Zzz's, to which Roban says this is a perfectly acceptable alternative.
The trick? Keep it somewhere between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. so it's late enough in the day to need a refresh, but not so late that your body will want to sleep until tomorrow. “You want to stay within your light sleep cycle during your nap so you wake up feeling refreshed and alert, not groggy,” Roban says.
Pro tip: have a cup of coffee or your favorite caffeinated soda right before you lay down. Caffeine takes about 20 minutes to hit your bloodstream, so in an ideal world, you'll wake up energized and ready to go.
It's probably been awhile since your last football game day party, but we all need a little more sleep here and there as we try to acclimate back to "regular" post-COVID life -- even if that means sneaking in a 20 minute snooze during your afternoon work break. Don't worry, we won't tell anyone.