Productivity and rest make a matched pair. If you don’t have one, you are not likely to get much of the other. Just as it is difficult to rest when many tasks are left undone, productivity declines sharply with sleep deprivation. It does not take much missing sleep to notice downgraded performance. The power nap is one of the best ways to recharge in the middle of the day and make up for missed sleep.
Contrary to what you might think, naps are not for lazy people, toddlers or seniors. Many highly productive people swear by the benefits of the power nap. Bill Clinton, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison are all well documented nappers. A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation reports that 30 percent of employers permit sleeping at work and some even provide a designated location for employees to nap.
Follow these simple steps to unlock the full benefits of the power nap:
Get a Better Alarm Clock
Always set an alarm when you nap. This is very important. Science has taught us that every 30 minutes you cycle in and out of deep sleep. Being woken from deep sleep will leave you feeling drowsy instead of rested. 15 minutes is a good power nap length, but if you struggle to fall asleep quickly, 20 minutes or more might be required. Standard alarm clocks jar you awake with loud, blaring sounds. Opt instead for one that wakes you gently from light sleep such as the Philips Wake-Up Light or the Sleep Now app.
Schedule Your Nap for Maximum Impact
Avoid napping in the early morning or late afternoon. Napping too close to your normal sleeping times will compromise your ability to sleep later. At the extreme ends of the workday, you are more likely to fall into deep sleep which will make you groggy, so aim for the middle of the day. Studies have shown that afternoon sleep is more beneficial than morning sleep, so the best time for a nap is just after lunch. This will give you a productivity boost through the afternoon and into the evening.
Choose Your Setting Wisely
Don’t nap just anywhere. You need a place that will be quiet, free from interruption and dark if possible. Power naps are short, never more than 20 minutes, which means they are also very fragile. Any interruption can negate all of its benefits. Turn off your cell phone and limit background noise with headphones. Also remember that your body temperature will drop while you are asleep, so raise your room temperature or use a blanket or jacket to keep yourself cozy.
It is possible to fall asleep sitting up, but it takes much longer and the risk of damaging your neck is real. At the very least, recline your office chair.
Take in Some Caffeine
This might seem odd, but the effects of an energy drink, coffee or green tea usually take 20 minutes to kick in. Consume between 100-200 mlg of caffeine right before you lie down, and the effects should hit you just as you wake up from your power nap.
While power naps are not a replacement for a healthy sleep regimen, they can go a long way in helping to make up an existing sleep deficit.
Do you power nap regularly? What tactics do you utilize?
by Ray Deck