Read today how to supercharge your power nap. A power nap is magical. It’s the most effective way to wake up and refresh your mind when you’re feeling tired and sluggish. Research has shown that power sleep is much better than no nap as it enhances cognitive abilities and alertness.
Ever fallen into the dreaded afternoon slump? It’s the lethargic feeling that occurs after lunch between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm when exhaustion from the morning catches up. The mind fatigues, stress levels rise and the blood pressure drops. Satisfying urges for carbs or an afternoon cup of Joe feels like the only saving graces. Based on your chronotype, the body’s biological clock, these symptoms can hit harder in some individuals than in others.
Power napping is a strategy that has been used by influential people such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and John F. Kennedy, who were all advocates of the quick afternoon nap.
If you’re looking to incorporate a power nap into your schedule, here are 5 strategies on how to supercharge your power nap and make the most of your afternoon slumber.
1. Set a Timer for 20 Minutes
Getting 20 minutes is generally seen at the perfect amount of time for a power nap—it’s long enough to give your body time to rest, but short enough that you don’t wake up feeling groggy. In just 20 minutes the brain can recuperate, but one needs to nap strategically to reap the full benefits.
If you are feeling like you need a nap a little longer, try taking a 90-minute nap, so you can finish one full sleep cycle, and wake up feeling refreshed rather than with brain fog.
2. Put Yourself in the Right Conditions
With a 20-minute power nap, it’s important to get yourself asleep as quickly as possible. To do this, you should try to put yourself in the right conditions (physically and mentally) to relax. Try to find a cool, dark, and quiet place to fall asleep, whether it’s in a quiet room with blackout curtains, or on a couch with a sleeping mask.
Mentally, you should be in the right headspace. Naps are meant to be a reset, so try to clear your mind of stressors, and just focus on catching some zzz’s.
3. Nap at the Right Time
It’s also important to be taking a nap at the right time of day. For most people, this is around eight to nine hours after they first wake up, since this is when your circadian rhythm starts sending signals of sleepiness to your body.
You should also not be taking a nap too close to when you are planning to fall asleep for the night, it will be significantly harder to fall asleep if you nap less than four or five hours before hitting the hay. There is definitely a “sweet spot” for the right time of day to nap, but it’s also important to listen to your body.
If your body feels exhausted and ready for a nap earlier than suggested, that’s totally OK. If you feel like you don’t need a power nap that day, that’s completely fine too. Taking a period of “wakeful rest”, sitting or laying down with your eyes closed, is a great way to rest your body without fully falling asleep.
4. Take a “Coffee Nap”
Coffee naps are a relatively new trend of drinking caffeine immediately before taking a short nap, so you wake up when the caffeine kicks in (approximately 20 to 30 minutes) feeling ready to take on the rest of the day. Try taking a coffee nap once or twice to see if the strategy works well for you.
5. Give Yourself Time to Wake Up
If you power nap correctly, you probably shouldn’t be feeling groggy upon waking up, but it’s still worth giving yourself a few minutes to re-center before tackling what’s on your plate for the rest of the day. Take some time when waking back up to make a list of goals to accomplish and a plan of action to achieve them, so you’re ready to hit the ground running when you head back to work.
Taking a power nap can help combat mental crashes, priming the mind for a more productive second round. Setting the right conditions, coffee naps, and wakeful rest are all strategies that will ensure that you get the most out of your 20 winks.
In the United States, most companies don’t advocate sleeping on the clock. However, there are a few (Google, Uber, Samsung, and Zappos) that promote the practice – A well-rested employee is a happy and effective individual.
If you need a midday mental break, our friends at Casper put together a list of power napping strategies that will keep the dreaded afternoon slump at bay. So are you ready and prepared to supercharge your power nap? Check them out in the infographic below or visit the detailed original blog post here.