If you are feeling drowsy after the lunch break, refrain from taking a shot of espresso to stay awake. Instead, it’s better to take a power nap to recharge your mind, according to the National Sleep Foundation. A power nap is proven to boost work performance and increase alertness in individuals.
Why Power Naps Are So Refreshing
When done the right way, power naps can make you feel refreshed as if you’re waking up for the first time in the morning. Scientists are still trying their best to understand why napping have such positive effects on our mind and body.
It is known that 85% of mammals are polyphasic sleepers, which means that they sleep in short period throughout the days. For humans, napping is common with children and the elderlies. In certain countries, a napping session is made mandatory at workplaces.
Besides feeling refreshed and alert, power nap also offers other benefits to our health. It promotes a healthier cardiovascular system by reducing the blood pressure as we nap, according to a clinical research. Taking a midday nap also helps your mind to reduce stress hormones.
20 Tips For Taking A Power Nap
While taking a power nap is generally beneficial, napping incorrectly can cause sleep inertia, where you feel groggy after waking up and have your productivity diminished for up to an hour. To prevent sleep inertia and to take a power nap effectively, check out these simple tips.
1. Use The 30 Minutes Rule
To be exact, the minimum duration of a power nap that increases your alertness drastically is 26 minutes, according to findings by NASA. Anything above 90 minutes kicks off a new sleep cycle and may disrupt your sleeping routine at night. So, set your alarm before you start napping away.
2. Napping After Lunch
Health conscious individuals may be turned off by napping after lunch as it is claimed that it increases your waistline. But when power nap is concerned, dozing off after lunch is a perfect time, as that’s when you tend to feel the most mental fatigue. If you’re concerned about a bulging belly, try changing the choice of your meal instead.
3. Resist The Urge To Snooze
It’s tempting to hit the snooze button, to get yourself another 5 minutes of blissful sleep. But experience shows that hitting the snooze button does nothing but creating a more lethargic mind. Insist that you stop napping after the time is up to get the best out of power nap.
4. Get Comfortable
Some offices provide napping rooms, where you can nap to your content. But if you don’t have a comfortable mattress to lie on, a comfy couch is the next best alternative. You wouldn’t want to wake up with a fresh mind but aching neck or back to deal with. A neck rest or your favorite pillow may be the best companion for a nap.
5. Turn The Light Off
Here’s another great tip on how to take a power nap. Turning the light off makes it easier for you to doze off and it is no coincidence. A dark environment increases the level of melatonin, a natural hormone in your body that helps you to sleep. You’ll also wake up feeling more refreshed if you are napping in the dark.
6. Use A Sleep Mask
Sometimes, there are no options but to nap with the lights at full brightness, especially in the office. In such situations, investing in a sleeping mask is a clever move. An ideal sleeping mask is one that keeps out light effectively, and comfortable to put on. Some sleep masks also come with side panels, which reduces surrounding noise as well.
7. Avoid Caffeine During Lunch
Taking a cup of espresso after a sumptuous lunch is a great way to satisfy your caffeine craving. But it kicks off the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes a power nap almost impossible. This also rules out carbonated drink and teas that are rich in caffeine.
8. Drink Coffee Right Before Power Nap
If you insist on having your favorite mug of latte, do take it right before your power nap. As it takes 20 minutes for your body to absorb the caffeine, you’ll wake up supercharged by the effect of the caffeine and power nap. This is probably one of the most unique tips you’ve heard of taking a power nap.
9. Get The Room Temperature Right
While there are claims that the optimum temperature for a nap falls between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, we feel that it’s a matter of personal preference. Although you can’t strip to your pajamas at work, you could loosen up your attire or put on a jacket to feel comfortable. The right temperature helps to boost the quality of your power nap.
10. Use Binaural Beats
The term binaural beats may sound unfamiliar to you, but it’s an effective method to take a power nap. It’s a sound technology that induces the brainwave to a relaxation frequency. A binaural beats audio produces monotonous hums that coax your brain to sleep. For binaural beats to be effective, you’ll need to put on an earphone, which may be uncomfortable for some.
11. Play Relaxing Sleep Music
Binaural beats may be backed by science, but not every individual can tolerate the monotonous audio. Sometimes, playing soothing and relaxing music may do wonder in relaxing your mind and drifting off into a slumber. There is an abundance of relaxing music that you can play for free on the internet as you nap away.
Meditation isn’t only great for starting the day but also useful in getting your mind to relax enough for a power nap at work. It helps you to slow down the thoughts and worries, especially if you’re having a tough morning. You can use meditation apps to start with if you’ve never meditated before.
13. Stop Worrying About Not Falling Asleep
There are days where you can’t fall asleep, despite your brain being all sluggish. Instead of fretting out, do try to relax and tell yourself that it’s ok if you’re just getting some rest. In fact, closing your eyes and taking deep breaths is almost as healing as taking a nap. As ironic as it may seem, most people fall asleep when they stop stressing about the inability to do so.
14. Stretch Out After A Power Nap
Besides knowing how to take a power nap effectively, you’ll be better off with post power nap tips. Instead of rushing to check your email immediately, take time to stretch your limbs. Stretching and light exercise promotes blood circulation. It gives your body the time to adjust to the wakeful state and stretching up helps to get your mind to full gear.
15. Placing Your Phone On Silent
Remove all distractions that may interrupt you from a power nap. Getting disturbed from a power nap can cause you to feel disorientated and suffer from mental dullness for the rest of your day. Turn on the silent mode on your phone, and hang the ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door if you have to.
16. Drink Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is known for its calming and sedative quality. If you’re planning for an afternoon nap, make yourself a cup of chamomile tea and drink it for lunch. It doesn’t take long for the therapeutic properties of chamomile to lull your mind into a slumber. Remember to avoid chamomile if you’re driving after lunch.
17. Use Self-Hypnosis
Unlike what you saw in movies, hypnosis is a form of psychotherapy that is backed by science. It taps into the power of your subconscious mind and makes you feel safe and relaxed. Combined with the effect of hypnosis, you’ll have a prolonged state of focus after listening to self-hypnosis audio for sleep before taking a power nap.
18. Avoid Negative Feelings Before Napping
Have you tried going to bed at night feeling angry, sad or frustrated? You’ll wake up in the morning feeling like a wreck. The same is true when you take a power nap. That’s why you should relax your mind, either by penning down your thoughts or other techniques mentioned above before napping.
19. Don’t Take A Power Nap If You’re Struggling With Insomnia
If you are already spending countless hours tossing and turning at night, no thanks to daily stressors, you shouldn’t be taking any power nap. It may further aggravate your circadian cycle and deny you the restful sleep you need at night. Taking a power nap isn’t for everyone.
20. Never Take A Power Nap After 4 PM
We’ve mentioned that it’s excellent to nap after your lunch. But we have to end this power napping guide by reminding you to avoid taking a power nap after 4 PM. It is bound to disrupt your sleep cycle later and night and create a continuous cycle of lack of sleep during the day.
Have these tips turned you into a power napping pro? Share it out if you feel it could help your someone in need of a great power nap.