Tips for taking a proper nap: Olivia Arezzolo

Olivia Arezzolo, who grew up in Sale, is Australia's leading sleep expert. Photo: Contributed

OLIVIA Arezzolo, who grew up in Sale, is Australia’s leading sleep expert.


Olivia’s three-step perfect nap plan

⁣Before I get into the specifics, let’s share – why nap?⁣

⁣1. NASA research shows it can can boost alertness by 54 per cent⁣;

2. The same paper noted it could improve productivity by 34 per cent, and;

3. Napping also allows us to catch up on sleep debt without altering our sleep schedules (a top 10 sleep saboteur, for the reference)⁣.


⁣So be it for performance or just to give you that much needed second wind, a nap is the answer. ⁣

⁣That is, if you do it right.⁣

⁣And for that, here is my perfect nap plan (PNP):⁣

⁣1. Keep it short – 30 minutes is ideal; ⁣

2. Keep it dark – wear an eyemask, and;⁣

3. Keep it early: finish the nap before 3.30pm ⁣


⁣The why behind the PNP:⁣

⁣1. Keeping it short – this ensures you stay in a light sleep (Stage 1 and 2 NREM);

2. Keeping it dark – light is our zeitgeber (factor to control the circadian rhythm), and suppresses sleepiness hormone melatonin. More light = limited effectivity of the nap⁣, and;

3. Keeping it early – this allows your body to build up sufficient sleep promoting hormone adenosine. Like melatonin, adenosine encourages us to feel tired and crave sleep. Naturally building up when we are awake, adenosine dissipates when we are asleep. Thus, if you take a nap too close to bedtime, chances are, you’ll find it hard to fall asleep, as your body doesn’t have sufficient amount of adenosine to feel sleepy.⁣


Olivia last year released her book Bear, Lion or Wolf: How Understanding Your Sleep Type Could Change Your Life.

To take Olivia’s complete chronotype quiz, head to her website: