Napping is one of life’s greatest pleasures and it turns out that it’s not just for the lazy. In fact, there’s no reason at all to feel guilty about taking a nap, and some cultures have made napping a permanent part of daily life due to its restorative effects. Take the ‘siesta’, for example: a rest or nap taken during the hottest hours of the day in warmer countries. The ‘siesta’ is a traditional practice in Spain, the Philippines, many Hispanic American countries and Italy, where museums, churches and local businesses close in the middle of the day so people can go home for a big lunch and a snooze.
Having a quick nap can boost your energy and help you conquer the rest of your day. It’s also scientifically proven to support optimal brain function by boosting learning capacity, memory and creativity. Yay, science!
How long should your nap last?
Lifehacker published a convenient chart that outlines the various benefits of different nap durations. Let’s break it down:
The Power Nap
Duration: 10-30 minutes
Effects: Boosts alertness and energy, easy to get back into action quickly without grogginess.
The Memory Booster
Duration: 60 minutes
Effects: Helps you remember facts, faces and names, but may leave you a tad groggy for a small period of time after.
The Full Cycle
Duration: 90 minutes
Effects: Boosts creativity and emotional and procedural memory with minimal grogginess after waking.
Experts agree that in order to stay alert and avoid the potential groggy feeling after your nap, The Power Nap is the best option. This is because you stay within the first two stages of sleep and avoid the deeper third and fourth stages.
Nap at the right time
Timing is everything when it comes to napping. A midday power nap will bring the most benefits in terms of boosting your productivity, so try to take your nap between the hours of 1pm and 3pm.
Find a quiet place to nap
Do you get to go home at lunch? Lucky you! Turn off the lights, lie in your bed or on your couch, and nap away! Alternatively, you can suggest a nap area in your workplace. I created a nap zone at mine, which is just a couple of couches in the corner (ok, the couches existed before the nap zone… I just gave it a name). To my delight, people actually use it! If you’re afraid your bosses won’t go for it, you can educate them on the benefits of power napping by showing them this article.
Set an alarm
Stay in the optimal power nap zone by setting your alarm to ensure you don’t oversleep and become groggy for the rest of the day.
Quiet your mind
Personally, I find it difficult at times to fall asleep knowing I have limited time in which to do it. This is likely because my mind is active and anxious about the limited time I have. One way to combat this is to try a meditative exercise, such as focusing on your breathing or using visualization techniques.
Try incorporating some power naps into your life and see if you notice the benefits! Are you already a power napper? Share your experience in the comments below!
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