Top Five Tips to Taking Power Naps
If you find yourself fighting fatigue during the day, try listening to your body by taking a nap. Research indicates that a short 20-minute snooze is all it takes to lower stress hormone levels and super-charge your stamina. It has been proven to be beneficial to your heart, hormonal maintenance and overall cell repair. Napping also enables your brain to clear thought clutter and boosts creativity.
1. Be Creative - Naps can be taken almost anytime, any place if you get creative… keep a pillow under your desk, blanket in your car, find a space at the back of a yoga or pilates class and let the instructor know you plan to stay ‘meditating’ in the lying down position for a while longer than usual!
2. Feel Safe – Our primal instincts can prevent us taking a nap if we are sensitive sleepers and don’t feel relaxed in our environment. If you find it hard to switch off and feel safe, do what you can to reduce distractions and send a message to your brain that it is safe for you to sleep – lock the door, pop in some ear plugs, wear an eye mask, close the blinds.
Many workplaces are now waking up to the power of naps and encouraging their staff to take them. But, if you aren’t your own boss and account to someone else who doesn’t appreciate that napping helps you accomplish more, have a colleague keep watch while you snooze.
3. Set an Alarm - You will relax and drift off more easily if you know that you are not going to sleep through an important meeting or miss the last stop on the bus. Set an alarm to wake you up after 20-30 minutes. Longer naps can bring the added benefits of flooding the system with growth hormones, which are great for muscle and bone repair, but it may take a bit of experimentation to find the length of longer nap for you. Ideally you don’t want to enter a normal sleep cycle without fully completing it, otherwise you may wake feeling disorientated and groggy due to sleep inertia.
4. Avoid Caffeine - Caffeine disturbs sleep. For your nap to have best effect, avoid drinking caffeine for at least 4-5 hours before you snooze – yes it takes this long for the effects of your daily cuppa to even begin to leave your system! Good news is that taking a nap will reenergize you far more than a cup of tea or coffee can.
5. Permission – Give yourself permission to power nap. Release any inner gremlins stuck on ‘go, go, go’ or telling you that you are ‘lazy’ for napping. Remind yourself of the benefits and that napping is actually a far more productive use of your time than pushing yourself to over ride your body wisdom. In fact, according to a study by NASA taking a nap can increase cognitive function by up to 40%! Now there’s reason to snooze!