How to Master the Art of the Power Nap
In our pursuit of endless productivity, the power nap is a powerful tool we can leverage. Research indicates that napping for as little as 10 minutes can deliver more than two hours of increased alertness and improved problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, memory, and mood. When stress is high, deadlines are tight, or you’re not getting enough quality sleep, the power nap can be just the pick-me-up you need to get through the day at your best and without interrupting a good night’s sleep.
10-20 minutes –The power nap
The power nap is excellent when you need to get straight back to work, but sleepiness is dragging you down. If you choose to give your body a rest of 10 to 20 minutes during the day, you will become more productive. The power nap boosts alertness, energy, stamina, motor learning, and motor performance to refresh you so you can get back to work. It also improves muscle memory and clears the brain of useless built-up information, which helps with long-term memory (remembering facts, events, and names).
This length delivers a quick energy boost while still letting you sleep at night. It keeps you in the lighter stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, making it easy to get going afterward.
Ideal nap time
Between 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Ideal nap position
Slightly upright to avoid deep sleep.
Ideal nap duration
Ideal nap light
Dim to dark to stimulate melatonin.
Ideal nap temperature
65-69 degrees Fahrenheit
A closer look at the power nap
Your body while napping
- Though no longer conscious, your body’s senses are still active
- Something as simple as an unfamiliar or loud noise or rough touch can cause you to wake up
- Your heart rate slows down
- Your blood pressure starts to decrease
- Your eye movement stops
- Adenosine deposits in your body start to break down
- You fall deeper into sleep
- Cortisol starts to build up in your adrenal glands (this will help you feel alert upon waking)
- Your immune system begins to reset
*5 of the best nap accessories ever
Every nap needs the perfect accessories to make it truly great. Once you’ve decided on the perfect time and place, you want to be sure you’re comfortable and don’t sleep too long. Here are our picks for five of the best nap accessories ever!
- Coffee – Enjoy a cup of coffee (or other caffeinated beverage) before you take a power nap for maximum alertness when you wake up. (The caffeine will kick about the same time your alarm goes off.)
- Sleep mask – Same rules apply to your nighttime habits – create a dark environment to fall asleep faster.
- Blanket – Since you’re body temperature drops while you’re asleep, a blanket will help keep you comfortable.
- Cell phone – Set a loud, but not grating, alarm to make sure you wake up in time.
- Pencil – Einstein’s trick: Hold a pencil while you’re drifting off before a power nap – the pencil will drop if you start to slip into too deep of a sleep and wake you up.
The next time you feel like you’re moving through your day in a fog or you can hardly keep your eyes open, stop what you’re doing for 20 minutes and grab a power nap. You’ll be more productive and deliver better quality work with the nap than you would have without it!