Is there anything more ideal than taking a nap on the beach ? The rhythmic crashing of the waves, the scent of salty sea air and sunscreen, and the luxurious warmth of basking in the sun is the perfect recipe for a relaxing afternoon nap. Sure, sleeping on the beach may have its drawbacks, like screeching seagulls and wayward volleyballs, but with a little prep, you can enjoy a sun-drenched snooze on the seashore.
Prepping for a Beach Nap
If you’re heading to the beach for a snooze, pack accordingly. While a beach towel will work as a makeshift bed, a nap pad can really level up your napping game. Bring plenty of water, since spending time in the sun can dehydrate you more quickly than you realize. You should also plan for personal security--after all, you’re falling asleep in a public place. If you’re with a group, ask a trusted friend to keep an eye out. If you’re alone, leave your valuables locked in your car, but keep a watch or other personal timer so you can set an alarm for yourself to wake up.
How Long Should You Nap?
A “power nap” lasts 30 minutes or less, preventing your body from entering the deep sleep stage so you don’t feel groggy upon waking up. If you’re prone to sunburn, this might be an ideal length of time for a beach nap. If you’re really jonesing for a longer snooze, aim for 90 minutes. This gives most people time to complete one full sleep cycle. To avoid disrupting your regular sleep schedule, don’t nap for more than 90 minutes and don’t nap past mid-afternoon.
Kids and Beach Naps
Let’s face it: with kids in the mix, you’re going to have a lot more stuff in tow, and that goes double for beach trips. Babies and young children need their daily naps, even on the beach, so go ahead and add some nap gear to your assortment of towels, snacks, and sunscreen. It will pay off when you can let the sweet heat and sonorous sea do the hard work of lulling the little ones off to dreamland.
A baby beach tent is a super handy way to provide both a shield from the sun and a sense of security--just pop it open and stake down for an instant shady spot. (Even if your child will be in the shade the whole time, slather on the sunblock.) Add a comfy nap mat to protect baby’s tender skin from the hot sand. You could even spring for a battery- or solar-powered fan. Just keep an eye on the angle of the sun--you may need to adjust the tent’s position as the day progresses--and of course, never leave babies or young children unattended at the beach.
Obviously, sunburn is the top safety concern when it comes to beach napping. According to the CDC, the sun can cause ultraviolet (UV) damage to your skin within just 15 minutes of exposure. We’ve all seen the trope of the unwary sunbather who’s beet-red on one side and lily-white on the other. Don’t be that guy. Do a full-body application of sunblock before napping, and reapply at least every two hours. Bring along a hat to protect your scalp, and sunglasses so you don’t burn your eyelids (ouch!). And, buy or rent a canopy, beach tent, or umbrella to provide physical shade.
A seaside nap can be the perfect way to relax on vacation. Plan ahead and make smart choices so you don’t have to spend the rest of your holiday slathering yourself with post-burn aloe.