Our society has a few things turned on their head when it comes to the power of napping and productivity. The common misconception is that sleeping or even taking a nap is the same thing as being lazy. This is a patent lie, and it turns out that just the opposite is often true.
That’s right, when done properly, taking a power nap can add to one’s productivity immensely. The trick is in getting it done properly, and that is what we want to look at in-depth now.
Upsides To “Power Naps”
A “power nap” is generally defined as a quick nap not to exceed one hour in length. Most people keep them to about twenty to thirty minutes. The point of such a rest is to take some of the fatigue off of the mind and body and to rejuvenate as much as possible in a short period of time so as to push through the rest of the day.
These naps are helpful in the event that we did not have the most restful night of sleep the previous night. They allow us to reclaim some of the time that we have lost with poor sleeping habits, and they promote improved cognitive performance in a host of ways.
Better Problem-Solving Skills – A quick nap can bring back some of your ability to do complex problem solving and to use logic to solve problems as they are presented to you.
Increase Your Ability To Learn – As human beings we learn new things every day regardless of if we are actively trying to. Our brains are taking in new information, and that information can best be processed when we are fully rested and on our game so to speak.
Greater Alertness – Awareness of one’s surroundings and better reaction times are also associated with a rested mind. This means that we are best prepared to handle tasks (such as driving for example) that require our alertness when we have a rested mind.
Getting The Most From Your Naps
There are certain tactics that making napping a lot more impact than it might otherwise be. Getting the perfect nap may prove to be difficult to achieve, but we could all stand to take steps in the right direction. This means applying some common sense to the way that you nap.
Planning out the amount of time you intend to nap is a good idea. It is best to try to take your quick nap around the same time each day so as to make your body more accustomed to the routine. Science recommends that we try to nap between 1 and 3 p.m. if possible as this is when we are most likely to experience a drop in our energy levels. Napping for around 15 to 20 minutes can bring some of the benefits of a power nap to your body right away. If you have a spare 30 to 90 minutes, then the benefits can be even greater for a nap of that length.
You should set up the environment where you are going to take your nap to ensure that it is dark, quiet, and on the cooler side if you can swing it. You may not have much of an option but to nap in your car or something of the like, but it could still be worth it to take that nap. Park your car somewhere that has shade and stays on the cooler side, and run the AC if you need to.
Could Drinking Coffee Beforehand Help?
What? This concept seems so counter intuitive. It has long been known that drinking caffeine before bed can contribute to restlessness. Why then would someone recommend drinking coffee before taking a nap? The difference here is that if the nap is truly just a power nap, then it should only last about twenty to thirty minutes. That is just enough time for the caffeine from the coffee to get into your bloodstream and start to have its impact. Thus, you could wake up to a super-charged system that has been both rested and now primed with coffee as well.
There are people who call themselves “bio-hackers” who have revolutionized this method for energizing the body. They attest that it works and that it provides more of a boost than just the coffee or the nap alone could possibly provide.
Finally, it is important to prepare your mind for this new experience. Most people take plenty of naps when they are children, but the experience can feel very foreign to an adult. In fact, this may be part of the reason why naps get the stigma for being a sign of laziness. You will need to hit the reset button on everything that you think about naps before you start to have productive naps.
Most of us have bodies that are accustomed to staying awake in the afternoon, so it may prove difficult to get into a restful state at first. You may consider trying some breathing exercises to get into the habit of falling asleep in the afternoon the first few times you attempt it. That’s okay! You should just try to do what you can to get comfortable and get accustomed to trying something new. The naps will come if you continue to work at it.
You might find it odd at first to be the only one in the office who sneaks off at lunch to take a nap, but the results have a big impact, and you may soon convert others to the idea of taking naps during the work day when they see how much it helps you and your ability to produce at your job.