Our natural body rhythms slow down in the afternoon and power napping works like a super-efficient sleep that recharges your batteries. We all know the benefits of regular sleep, but the basic idea of a power nap is to get the body quickly in and out of the rejuvenating stage of sleep during the day.
Research has shown that by taking the recommended nap time of 20 to 30 minutes during the day, it is far more effective than sleeping an extra 20 to 30 minutes in the morning. Research also shown that it provides many positive health benefits, as outlined below.
The short duration of a power nap is recommended otherwise you may slip into “Slow Wave Sleep”, which is a deeper sleeping state that will often leave you feeling groggy.
Often when soloists are busy or exhausted we revert to consuming caffeine or consuming high fat/high sugar containing foods and drinks. Nutritionally, these can be poor choices and can often leave you feeling even more lethargic.
Compare this to the benefits of a power nap, which will help to:
- Improve long term memory;
- Clear the mind of clutter;
- Improve your mood and lower stress;
- Boost your stamina and energy;
- Make you more alert and patient;
- Have dreams and thoughts which offer insights and creative ideas;
- Reduce the chance of accidents i.e. driving or operating machinery;
- Overall improved health, including better heart functioning, hormonal maintenance and cell repair.
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If you’re not a natural at power napping, you can acquire the skill and get better at it. You may find the following tips useful:
- Find somewhere safe and secure to rest, free from disruptions from ringing phones or people
- Try to darken the nap area or wear an eyeshade, as this can actually stimulates the sleep inducing hormone, melatonin.
- Your body temperature will drop when you nap so make sure you are warm enough or use a blanket.
- Set an alarm to make sure that you do not over sleep.
- Avoid caffeine or big heavy meals in the afternoon.
- If you have children, try power napping at the same time.
- If you can’t nap, still use the time to relax, unwind and recharge.
- Practice and work out what works best for you.
It doesn’t have to be every day, but try power napping when your physical or mental energy is running low. Remember you are not being lazy but making yourself more productive.
If you do happen to oversleep during your power nap and you wake up feeling groggy, some sort of physical activity, noise or a shower can quickly reduce the grogginess. Or even good old caffeine, if needed.