Do you know what the Great Napoleon, John Kennedy, Leonardo da Vinci and Churchill had in common? All four-loved power napping, the short sleep shortly after noon.
It is proven that the power nap reduces stress and helps to have a more productive afternoon, whether we are in the middle of the week or during the weekend. At a time when even the list of our obligations grows and the time for a good night sleep is reduced, power nap is a very good way to fill up your batteries.
Power nap does not last long but it invigorates and stimulates our body and spirit, cutting pleasantly the day to two.
The power nap effect is like when a computer makes a SAVE and stores the information, in the same way our brain stores the information obtained until the power nap. So when we wake up from power napping our memory is clean and our mind is refreshed.
The need for a power nap has to do with not only sufficient sleep at night but also with the load of information we receive. Our brain has the need to rest and stop for a moment the flow of information and this is why we need to ‘turn off the switch’ during the day.
The signs that notify us that we need sleep are different for each person. Some feel that energy is reduced, others experience memory gaps and others simply cannot keep their eyes open. Whatever your warning alarm the key ‘is to sleep a little’ – take a power nap, of approximately 20 – 30 minutes so that you do not get in deep sleep (REM). If you sleep more, you run the risk of having difficulties to wake up and when you manage to wake up you will end up with a headache and bad mood.
The facts about power napping
- The American psychologist at the Salk Institute in California, Sara Mentnik, in an authoritative surveys she conducted found that the power nap makes us more creative and more productive, while helping to improve our health.
- In an investigation carried out by a psychiatry professor and chairman of the Hellenic Society for Research, had proved that the brief power nap generally improves mental attitude. The study, as well as our everyday experience has shown that when you wake up from a power napping, you feel better and have increased vigilance. The functions of the brain are improved and the reflexes work much better.
- Large companies in the United States are convinced by the benefits of a power nap. This is proven in practice because they have for their staff rest rooms with special chairs especially suited for power naps! After taking their power naps their employees return at work in a better mood and they are more productive.
- The Ministry of Health of France is considering establishing the right of workers for a 15-minute power nap.
- A very big survey carried out by the School of Public Health at Harvard University showed that people who regularly had a power nap are 34% less likely to die because of heart problems. This of course assumes that they also exercised, had a normal weight and a balanced diet.
- Power napping improves the levels of cortisol in the blood (a hormone which is considered ‘bad’ when it remains at high concentrations for a long period of time) that falls dramatically after a night out. Taking a power nap will improve the levels of cortisol enough to make us feel better. All this shows that a power nap helps balance hormones and is necessary for good health. Power naps are also necessary for children and students who do not sleep well, as they should.
Benefits of power napping
1. Strengthens our consciousness
2. Wakes up our senses
3. Gives us more energy
4. Helps us to take better decisions
5. Reduces the risk of heart disease
6. Improves our mood
7. Strengthens our memory
8. Increase the vitality of our body and spirit.
9. Provides a motivation for exercise
10. Improves our productivity
11. A power nap is a much better choice than a coffee in order to continue our activities and to reclaim our forces for the remainder of the day.
12. Power nap is a pleasant and powerful tool against stress
13. Improves the functions of the brain and our reflexes
14. Helps balance our body hormones
15. It is good for our heart
15 proven tips for the perfect power nap
1. Ideal time for a power nap is between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm, just after lunch.
2. To benefit the most from your power nap make sure that your sleep is without any disruptions. Switch off your mobile.
3. Put the alarm to wake you when you have completed 30 minutes of sleep. It is very common to lie down and sleep for a while and end up sleeping for hours.
4. Many people when they wake up they present some kind of instability and a sense of disorientation. If this happens to you, sit down and try to relax for 5 minutes before standing up.
5. To wake up from your power nap, put some water on your face, drink a glass of water and go out in the fresh air for a while.
6. If you are not feeling like sleeping then do not try to force your self to sleep
7. 30 minutes of sleep is enough to relax. If you sleep more, you will end up with a headache and bad mood.
8. Put some soft music in the background.
9. Make sure that you include power napping in your schedule [See also 16 Tips for Better Time Management]
10. Try not to consume big amounts of coffee or caffeine before your power nap.
11. Check the temperature of the room you will take the power nap and make sure that you won’t feel cold or hot while you sleep. Operate the air-conditioner if needed during the summer and the heating during the winter.
12. Make sure that you are power napping in a room with a clean atmosphere.
13. Some people are more relaxed when there is no light in the room while they are power napping. If possible darken the room or wear an eyeshade.
14. Before entering your power nap zone try to free up your mind from any thoughts. Focus your thoughts on something you enjoy.
15. Do not feel guilty. Taking a power nap does not make you lazy. It’s a very simple technique you can use to improve both your mental and physical health.
6 Don’ts about power napping
1.Do not believe the proverb, which says, «anyone who sleeps does not catch fish».
2.Do not try anxiously to sleep whenever you have insomnia.
3.Do not get under the blankets (better use air-conditioning).
4.Do not think that in order to enjoy your power nap you need absolute silence.
5.Do not sleep more than 30 minutes.
6.Do not take your power nap long time after lunch.
It is clear that the time we devote to sleep on average has declined and the consequences are obvious. Power napping is an easy and pleasurable way to reduce some of the disadvantages of not sleeping well and also we can gain from the benefits of power napping as explained in this article.