Snooze for Success: Power Naps Go MainstreamFrom: www.huffingtonpost.com
There’s nothing lovelier than the sight of a child napping — such a sweet, enviable state, and one that I believe grown-ups should also be able to enjoy without being thought of as peculiar or lazy.
A short, 20-minute power nap has been shown to provide a fresh burst of new ideas and energy and to eliminate the need for caffeine boosts during the workday, and afterward, too. Even NASA research supports the idea that napping improves alertness, creativity and performance in those who make time for a short snooze. Still not convinced? Then you might want to take a look at the recent New York Times article that outed many NBA athletes as frequent nappers who use power snoozes to help boost performance, particularly on game days.
OK, so let’s say you’d like to get into a napping groove, but you’re a 9-to-5er, not an NBAer. It’s still possible to slip in a midday snooze; you just have to think creatively and develop your strategy. Before you know it, you’ll be snoozing like a pro. Here’s how:
Select your spot.
Unless your workplace actually encourages napping, snoozing off-site is, career-wise, probably the safest choice … To reap the benefits of a power nap and truly relax your body and mind, you’ll need a quiet, private spot that’s as close to bed-like comfort as possible… Another option would be to take a quick nap in your car or, if you live in a big city, in a local park. But bring along a buddy to watch your stuff while you nap, and be ready to return the favor when your buddy needs a power snooze.
Snooze sooner rather than later.
Don’t start napping after 4 p.m. Later naps can upset your body rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep at night.
Shorter is better.
The best naps are short ones, so keep them short and sweet. The optimal time is said to be no more than 20 minutes. When you drift into the 30-minute range, sleep inertia tends to set in, leaving you dragging through rest of the day in a post-nap fog. If you “fail” to actually fall asleep, don’t let it bother you; simply use the 20 minutes to meditate and clear your head. You’ll still reap some napping benefits. Eventually, as your body becomes more used to a midday break, falling asleep faster for a short nap will become second nature.
Remember the equipment.
Aside from a comfortable place to stretch out, the other key ingredient in the power nap pantheon is the alarm clock. Set a clock or timer to keep you from sleeping the afternoon away and to insure that you return to the land of the alert in a reasonable amount of time.
Set the stage.
Is it too bright for you to fall asleep? Then whip out an eye-mask or a pair of big, dark, movie-star shades to help approximate darker conditions. Close blinds and turn off lights. Also remember to completely turn off or power down your desk phone’s ringer, your iPhone, your Blackberry or anything else that buzzes, whirs, honks or blinks to prepare your napping environment. When total silence isn’t possible, add a pair of headphones and play soothing, instrumental music to help you drift off.
When the alarm goes off, you must obey! Get right up before you start sleepily hitting the snooze button. Splash some cold water on your face, flip the lights and your computer back on, and try jogging in place or moving around for a minute to restart your brain and body.
Word of the Day
Origins: Middle English repen, from Old English reopen
First Known Use: before 12th century
1: a (1) : to cut with a sickle, scythe, or reaping machine (2) : to clear of a crop by reaping
b : to gather by reaping : harvest
2: obtain, win
Burst: n. a sudden intense effort
Fog: n. a state of confusion or bewilderment
Groove: n. a fixed routine
Inertia: n. a feeling of not having the energy or desire that is needed to move, change
Nap: n. a short sleep especially during the day
Peculiar: adj. different from the usual or normal
Snooze: n. a short period of light sleep
Shades: n. sunglasses
Whir: n. a continuous fluttering or vibratory sound made by something in rapid motion
Idioms & Phrases
Short and Sweet: satisfyingly brief and pertinent
- When we asked about the coming merger, the chairman’s answer was short and sweet, it wasn’t going to happen.