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.
Even NASA research finds that napping improves alertness, creativity and performance.
Many NBA athletes are frequent nappers who use power snoozes to help boost performance, particularly on game days.
Read Learn While Sleeping
OK, so let’s say you’d like to get into a napping groove but you’re a 9-to-5er, not an NBA-er. It’s still possible to slip in a mid-day snooze – you just have to think creatively and develop your strategy.
Here’s how to nap like a pro:
Select Your Spot
Unless your workplace actually encourages napping, snoozing off-site is career-wise, probably the safest choice, although some of my patients say they can occasionally catch a few zzzz’s at their desk. 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.
Snooze Sooner Rather Than Later
Don’t start napping after 4pm. Later naps can upset your body rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep at night.
Learn more in Sleep Like a Lion: 10 Tips for Better Sleep
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 mid-day break, falling asleep faster for a short nap will become second nature.
Discover How to Meditate
Remember an Alarm Clock
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
Too bright 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 your desk phone ringer, your Iphone, Blackberry or anything else that buzzes, whirs, honks or blinks to prepare your napping environment.
About Dr. Lipman:
Frank Lipman, MD, PhD is an internationally recognized expert in the field of integrative medicine. He is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, where for over 20 years his personal brand of healing has helped thousands of people reclaim their vitality and recover their zest for life.
He received his initial medical training in South Africa, qualifying in 1979 and emigrating to the United States in 1984. He became board certified in internal medicine after serving as Chief Medical Resident in his final year of residency at Lincoln Hospital in New York City.
Becoming more and more aware of both the strengths and the weaknesses of his training, he began to study acupuncture, Chinese medicine, functional medicine, nutrition, herbal medicine, biofeedback, meditation and yoga.
Dr. Lipman is the author of Total Renewal: 7 Key Steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long Term Health and Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again.