Power Napping, How?
These Power Napping Tips will help you discover and try Power Napping at home or at work. In an ideal world you would be able to sleep whenever you like and how long you please. But your body has habits and cycles that make such a simple approach counter productive. By following some dos and donts however, you will enjoy the full benefit of a short sleep without feeling groggy or sleepy afterward.
When to power nap?
Most scientific research on restorative nap indicates that the best time for a short doze is at midday. Some people take it before lunch but most will wait until right after lunch, at this time digestion compounds with time of the day. This is a point in your circadian cycle (your body natural sleep regulation rythm) where you already have a natural tendency to fall asleep. Don't delay your nap, napping after 4 or 6pm might degrade your night sleep or reduce your sleep quality.
A stay-at-home mum can take advantage of her child's own nap to take hers, greatly reducing the effects of sleep deprivation. Use it at home or at work or even in your car, but do not use while driving!
For most people a 20 minute power nap is optimal, some might prefer adding a 5 to 10 minute buffer to allow extra relaxation time before the actual nap. This is probably useful if you feel stress or difficulties to let go. It is up to you to fine tune your nap environment in order for you to find the perfect restorative sleep.
Do not go over 30 to 40 minutes or you might enter deep sleep and create what is called sleep inertia. You would then feel drowsy, groggy and generally worse off. Also, research on sleep has shown that a short nap is at least as effective as a long one, so why spend more time for less impact?
Set an alarm clock, a relaxation tape, a relaxation cd, or a custom generated nap track. This is very important, your mind needs to know that the rest is going to be within boundaries so that it can prepare and get the most benefits in a very short amount of time.
Explain to your boss and co-workers why you are taking a power nap. Tips like this page can be shared for the benefits of all. If they see, like you, that a nap is a time investment with very high payback, they will not make any assumptions and will understand that you simply want to perform better. You can for instance leave an obvious sign telling that you are currently not available and that you will be back to them shortly. Not only will you not be disturbed but it will also be easier for you to relax, knowing that this time is reserved just for your own relaxation.
If you feel the need for an extra caffeinated boost, you should take an espresso shot during your relaxation phase, right before closing your eyes and pressing the play button for your relaxation track. Coffee takes a few minutes to go through your system, so it will give you a "kick" at the end of the nap without affecting your nap.
On the long run, we recommend that you consider reducing coffee intake or even stop coffee altogether. Coffee affects the quality of sleep in general, both nap and night sleep, and gives you only short energy boosts as opposed to the true powerful and lasting energy you can get from the combination of quality sleep and regular napping.