Many people suffer from daytime sleepiness, which makes it hard to be productive and get things done. Luckily, there’s a quick, easy and scientifically-proven way to cast off your drowsiness and get back to what’s important: power naps!
Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to power nap for a mid-afternoon energy boost!
What you will learn:
What are power naps?
While we all know the restorative power a nap can have, many of us haven’t indulged in one since kindergarten!
Indeed, most of us avoid sleeping throughout the day for fear that it might leave us feeling more tired and lethargic than before and affect our ability to sleep properly through the night.
However, many people swear by an afternoon snooze and say it helps them focus and lifts their productivity. There’s a long list of famous nap-lovers who touted their benefits in aiding creativity, rational thinking and mood, which includes Aristotle, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein and even Napoleon Bonaparte!
So, how do you get all the great advantages of a quick rest without risking the side effects? Well, the answer is power naps! These are short daytime sleeps that are designed to give you just enough shut-eye to feel revitalised and restored.
Duration is the key to unlocking the benefits of power naps. Allowing them to go on for too long allows your brain to reach the deepest cycle of sleep, which will mean you’ll wake up feeling groggy and with less energy than you started.
While the ideal timing differs for everyone, experts generally agree that they should only last between 10 and 15 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes at a maximum.
This might not sound like a lot, especially when you’re feeling tired or drained, but having just a quick power nap is the best way to refresh your mind so you wake up feeling alert and invigorated!
What is the science behind power naps?
If you’re looking for even more reasons to make power naps a part of your daily routine, you’ll be glad to know that research supports their use!
Studies show that short naps, particularly those enjoyed in the afternoon, had a positive impact on alertness. Other research has found that napping can be linked to better memory, recall and cognitive performance.
This means a quick power nap might not just make you feel energised but help you to perform better at your tasks at work, home, school, or in any other activity!
Additionally, research from UC Berkeley shows that a 30-minute mid-afternoon rest could make you feel better and more alert than sleeping in for 30 minutes in the morning!
It’s also well-known that a quick nap has the added benefit of elevating mood, meaning this midday energy boost can make you feel happier and calmer as well!
How to take a power nap
With so many advantages to offer, now is the perfect time to introduce power naps to your daily routine.
When you’re starting out, it’s important to remember that everyone’s ideal power nap will look a bit different. Try experimenting with a range of times, durations and environments to find out what suits you best.
To help you get started, we’ve put together this list of top tips for power napping to ensure you wake up refreshed, alert and ready for the rest of your day!
Find a cosy spot
Before you hit the hay, it’s a good idea to curate your space to make sure you get the best sleep possible.
If you can, try to dim or turn off the lights and use blinds or curtains to block out daylight. A darker environment signals to the brain that it's time to sleep and can help you drop off more easily. If you can’t control the light in your environment, consider using an eye mask instead.
Make yourself comfortable by finding a soft surface to rest on. If you’re at home, you might want to go to your bed or nap on the couch. If you’re at your workplace (and your boss approves of you taking a nap), find a quiet space, like a break room or unused office.
Get in the right headspace
Now that you’ve found your comfortable sleep space, it’s time to make it your own!
Research has shown that relaxing sounds, especially classical or meditative music, can assist you to unwind and sleep even better! If you’re concerned about bothering other people in your environment, playing music through your headphones can be a great option.
Additionally, you could take advantage of aromatherapy as a sleep aid by using an essential oil or blend. For example, adding a few drops of lavender oil to your shirt collar or pillow is a fast and simple way to unwind.
You could also try doing a quick meditation or some breathing exercises to help you calm down and fall asleep more easily.
Set a timer (and stick to it!)
Before you drift off, make sure you set an alarm! This will ensure you don’t oversleep, especially if you’re feeling especially fatigued.
The time you need for your nap will depend on a few things, such as how long you wish to sleep and how long it takes you to nod off. Generally speaking, it takes most people around 15 minutes to fall asleep, so setting a timer for half an hour is an excellent way to ensure you have a refreshing nap!
Put away your phone
Most electronic devices, including phones, tablets and laptops, emit blue light, which has been shown to suppress our brains’ sleep hormones. Once you’ve set your alarm, try to resist the urge to use your devices and put them away until you’ve finished your nap.
Additionally, see if you can silence your notifications. Switching alerts off allows you to focus on rest and can help you avoid the impulse to reach for your phone when you receive a message.
Don’t sweat it
If you find yourself having difficulty falling asleep during your power nap, try not to worry about it! Especially when time is a factor, it can be tempting to fret about getting to sleep, but doing so will likely make it even harder to drift off.
What’s more, research indicates that quiet restfulness, which is simply lying down or reclining with your eyes closed, can also give you an energy boost, increase productivity and make you feel refreshed, so you’ll still enjoy the benefits of a power nap, even if you don’t manage to actually sleep.
Many people experience daytime sleepiness, which affects concentration and productivity.
A power nap, fortunately, is a quick, simple, and effective cure! Discover the advantages of these little afternoon naps and how they can revive you and improve performance.
Power naps have been shown to improve mood, memory, cognitive performance, and attentiveness.
For a revitalising short nap, here is what you need to determine:
- The optimal sleep length.
- Arrange a relaxing nap atmosphere,
- Use relaxation techniques.