We’ve all had days where we felt tired and decided to take a ‘quick’ nap that left us wondering what year it is. We hate to be the ones to admit it but napping can be super counter-productive. However, as the likes of Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci also discovered, once one has mastered the art of napping, naps can actually be very beneficial. Stick around to find out how.
The term was first brought up by renowned Cornell University social psychologist James Maas, famous for his work in the field of sleep research. Basically, a power nap is a short sleep that is usually terminated before one enters the stage of deep sleep. If done right, it will help you get that rest and recharge you need without leaving you in a groggy state after waking up.
Remember That Power Napping is Not For Everyone
While many people swear by power naps and claim that anyone can do it, it´s not exactly true. I personally cannot ever fall asleep during the day unless I´m sick with a fever or something, no matter how tired I am. But some of my friends nap every day even when they´re not tired and it´s not a problem for them. Also, if you suffer from insomnia, naps are not the thing for you, since they will disrupt your sleeping cycle even further. We´re all different, and you´ll just have to try out these napping techniques yourself to see whether they work for you or not.
People who´ve successfully incorporated naps into their daily routines have a biological clock that already knows to wake them up after, say, 20 minutes. But if you´re only starting with naps, the safest thing to do is to set an alarm clock. This way you´ll make sure that you don´t oversleep, and the added psychological benefit means you´ll be able to relax without having to worry about waking up on time.
You should also mind the time you choose for taking your power nap. The best time would be between lunchtime and 3pm. Napping after lunch is probably the best option, and we got proof – the siesta. It´s a centuries-old tradition in many Mediterranean countries and is associated with various health benefits, such as a lower risk of heart attack. Basically, just make sure you nap before 3 pm, because taking a nap later in the afternoon will mess with your sleep cycle and will keep you awake longer at night.
The point of the power nap is that it is short. Ideally, the nap should end after 15-20 minutes, even though up to 30 minutes is acceptable. Anything over 30 minutes and you risk entering the stage of deep sleep and we guarantee you that waking up from that, will be nothing short of a challenge. Typically, the duration of time it will take you to fully wake up equivalates to the duration of the nap.
Nobody is saying you have to sleep on a desk or in your office chair but sleeping in an overly comfortable bed will make it veeeeeery hard to wake up and get movin’. A lot of companies centralized on office work have incorporated spaces for rest in their offices in recent years, for example Google, Huffington Post, Ben & Jerry´s etc. However, these are not bedrooms with big comfortable beds: rather, in most cases, sleeping pods. These pods allow you to separate yourself from the hustle & bustle of the work place and rest your eyes for a few minutes, without getting too cozy.
Coffee napping takes power napping to the next level. Drinking a coffee right before you want to take a nap probably sounds counterproductive to most people. But here´s the trick: caffeine takes 20 to 40 minutes to kick in. So if you drink a coffee right before you take your nap, the caffeine will kick in just as you wake up. Skip all that confusion and crankiness that comes with waking up and feel refreshed enough to get right back to the task at hand. Now, is that a Power Nap or what?
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