No matter how much we’ve read about it or heard about the merits of a power nap, we still don’t find the time to take a nap.
I heard the benefits a long time ago and decided last year to test it again and to see what works and what did not work. I tried different nap times, durations. In my case the best time was at 1930 or so for about 20 minutes max! Anything longer made me feel groggy for almost 45 minutes to an hour after the nap and I had difficulty to wake up or worse, decided to turn my power nap into deep slumber for the whole night – there goes the productivity I was looking to gain!
Less than 20 minutes for me was not enough since I was not completely sure that I dozed off. I also realized that if I had dreamt about something, it was sure way to know that I had in fact slept for a 20 minute period. Research tells us the ideal time is between 10-25 minutes but varies person to person.
Napoleon used to do it and so did many leaders through history including many of today’s athletes so why is that we don’t find the time if they are supposed to make us more productive?
First of all, maybe you need proof? I would encourage you to discover it on your own. First, set a time when you come home after work despite all the personal and family demands you may have – dedicate just 20 minutes. Set your alarm, shut the door and after 20 minutes you will see a difference, if of course you slept…just lying in bed for 20 minutes won’t do it.
Secondly, sleeping on the job is not exactly a great way to promote one’s career. Only a few employers encourage it which is a pity. Many studies have found that naps render employees more productive than conventional coffee breaks and that power naps are best taken in the afternoon. Even if your employer can’t help, you should test a power nap and enjoy the benefits in early evening.
If for the first time you did not feel or see the results, try taking a power nap 3 times that week. At first you may feel guilty or in denial to actually take a nap. Don’t get hung up on this since the time you gain by having a power nap will more than compensate at the other end in terms of added productivity that evening.
When you wake up, you will notice about 30 minutes later if you go back to fine tune some outstanding issues from your day, you will feel reenergized, you’ll wonder where this new found energy came from.
Rest is repair.
According to Brain Science leading authority, Dr. Srini Pillay, ‘Power naps are brief periods of sleep (15-30 minutes) that give the brain a chance to rest. It has been found that these brief naps may be rejuvenating and therefore help register and consolidate memories’
It’s also been proven that adequate sleep and daytime power naps are critical to faster, more efficient new learning.
A power-nap captures the benefits of the first two of the five stages in the sleep cycle. These first two stages take place in the first twenty minutes. In addition to making you feel more rested and alert, the electrical signals in your nervous system strengthen the connection between neurons involved in muscle memory, making your brain work faster and more accurately.
So there you have it. Historical leaders, today’s athletes and a leading Brain Science authority telling us that power naps make you more productive which has positive effects on your brain, learning and memory.
Want to get more work done in your day or get that extra little edge? You may find that giving your brain anywhere between 10-25 minutes of rest and by shutting down your system for a nap this may be the best investment in You.