Are you a power napper? If not, you might want to consider trying out a power nap. Psychologist and author of Power Sleep, Dr. James B. Maas, was the first to coin the term “power nap.” These short bursts of sleep are typically taken after several hours of being awake and don’t include stages of deep sleep. They’re great for boosting mood, energy, creativity, and productivity and their benefits can last you all through the day.
If you tend to feel tired during the daytime and turn to boosts of caffeine to stay focused on what you’re doing, you might benefit from power naps. The ideal power nap should last 20 to 30 minutes and should be taken about eight hours after getting up in the morning to help to counter the natural dip in circadian rhythm that occurs after being awake for a period. For most people, this dip occurs between 2 and 4 p.m.
Here are a few tips on how to take the perfect power nap to help you rejuvenate as much as possible in a minimal amount of time.
Before your snooze, you’ll want to choose a comfortable, dark, quiet spot where you can take your power nap. If possible, adjust the temperature in the room to ensure you are not too hot or cold. And if needed, use earplugs, an eye mask or white noise to help you tune out background noise. With time and practice, you can adjust to taking power naps under less than optimal circumstances.
So you don’t feel anxious about when you should be getting up, set an alarm for about 20 minutes. You’ll want to get up after 20 to 30 minutes since sleeping any longer might leave you feeling groggy rather than refreshed as your sleep cycles change. The next best nap length is a 90-minute nap which allows you to sleep for one complete REM (rapid eye movement) cycle.
If you can’t fall asleep, don’t get frustrated. It may take time to get into the groove of effective power napping. Encourage yourself to relax by meditating, listening to music, or using brainwave entertainment audios intended for power napping. Rest assured, you will get better at power napping with some practice. If you are at least resting for a short period, your body will be benefiting anyways.
If you enjoy caffeine, try taking a caffeinated drink right before your power nap. Research shows that drinking caffeine before your nap boosts your energy better than drinking caffeine or a taking a nap alone. The caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in, so you’ll be feeling the effects of it just as you wake up.
It’s not uncommon to feel disoriented and a little unstable from waking up after a power nap. To counter these feelings, try splashing some cool water on your face, having a glass of water and taking in some fresh air.
Enjoy your power naps without feeling guilty. Sleeping for these short periods is a great way to help you improve both your mental and physical health.