Children are always encouraged to take a nap in the afternoon but strangely enough, society in general frowns on older people doing the same. However, studies have shown that a power nap can greatly improve a person’s performance and health. There have even been several notable CEOs, like HubSpot founder Brian Halligan, who have credited their success to the powers of napping.
Understanding the Power Nap
A power nap, that quick 15-20 minutes of shut eye mid day, is a good way to combat sleep deprivation. Experts say that a quick nap can reboot your system, increase your alertness level and boost motor learning skills.
Napping can also increase the benefits you get from your fitness regimen. Muscles heal and grow during sleep and a lack of it slows down muscle production. This is why trainers recommend 7 hours of sleep when one’s doing heavy weight training. If you got less than the required amount of sleep, a 30 minute or 1 hour nap is additional rest that can help increase muscle growth.
A problem facing most employees is where to take a nap. Sleeping on the job is not a good idea but a nap can be squeezed in in-between tasks or appointments. This is especially true if you have the luxury of creating your own schedule. If you can regularly allot some time-off during the day, think about investing in a recliner for your office. Then you can just lock the door and have some shut-eye.
Here are some more tips to get the most out of your power nap:
*Set a regular schedule. Make it a habit to take a nap at a fixed time every day. Ideal nap times are sometime between 1pm and 3pm.
* Make it short. Make sure you have a reliable alarm and set it to go off after 20-30 minutes. More than that and you’ll wake up groggy.
* Stay in the dark. Close the lights or wear an eye mask. A darkened room will help you fall asleep quicker.
* Keep warm. Keep a blanket handy. Your body temperature drops when you sleep so you’ll feel a bit chilly.
There are some people who can’t fall asleep quickly but doesn’t mean you have to forego several minutes of quiet time. If you’re not one for naps, staying in a peaceful place, doing some breathing exercises – maybe even wearing gel pads around your eyes – can help you to relax and reduce stress, and make you return to work rejuvenated and focused.
Making naps part of your daily schedule can add more energy to your day and help you accomplish more, even if you’re running on reduced sleep from the night before. However, bear in mind that if you always wake up feeling lethargic after a nap, it could be a sign of something else. It might be an indication of low glucose levels. Consider having more fiber and less carbohydrate during lunch and you’ll avoid that sluggish post-nap feeling.