Seeing someone asleep in the middle of the day is tempting us to believe that we are confronted with a demonstration of laziness.
Sleep still all too often equals inactivity in our heads and hence a lessened productivity.
And although a lot of research begs to differ, our general indoctrination makes it hard for us to feel comfortable with napping at work or during the week.
In one Fortune 500 company they had even set up a napping room, in order to boost productivity yet none of the collaborators felt “cheeky enough” to actually do it. (The room was abolished after a couple was found there in flagranti actually “doing it“… and that was that.)
Be reassured though that the power nap isn’t a myth, and next time you feel a pang of guilt when you are considering one remember this:
- a power nap (20–30 minutes ideally) will leave you refreshed, more alert and your brain with an energy boost. Imagine plugging your 10% battery life iPhone back into the socket and charging it back up to 70%
- coffee, alas, will leave you wired but by no means refreshed. It will decrease your alertness and your brain power continues to be drained. If we take our previous metaphor then your iPhone’s battery is emptying more slowly but it isn’t recharged. (indeed the chemical strain between melatonin, the sleep hormone, and coffee differ by only 1 molecule, which is why once the reaction of coffee wears off you crash)
- astronauts are being trained by NASA to take a power nap at the same time every day to push their productivity (and astronauts are cool!)
So how to power nap best?
- Try, just like the astronauts, to nap at the same time every day (including weekends).
- Keep it to 20–30 minutes maximum to avoid going through a complete sleep cycle which will leave you drained.
- Make sure you are warm enough, as your body will cool down.
- Use the same location. Our brain loves habits and it will make it easier for it to go to sleep.
- Make it dark or use an eye mask, this will help your pineal gland to signal to the brain to go to sleep.
Want to get the best of both? Coffee & Sleep? Have a coffee & have your nap instantly! Your coffee will kick in after 20 minutes just when you wake up refreshed anyway and tada: here you go harvesting a doubly energy boost.
Want to start improving your sleep (and lose some pounds while you’re at it? Join my FREE 5 Days to More Sleep & Less Weight Challenge!)
Originally published at medium.com