When you’re feeling incredibly tired, you can’t possibly imagine how you could be energized after just an hour of sleep. This is called a “power nap” and it is extremely beneficial for getting a boost of energy to keep you going throughout the day. But when exactly should you power nap and what are some of the tricks that can help you make the best out of this little life hack?
Benefits of Power Naps
It seems counterintuitive that a 20-minute nap can help you clear your brain and prepare your body for the second half of the day, doesn’t it? And when you sleep for a minimum of 7 hours per night, who even needs those 20 minutes in the afternoon? Truth of the matter is that not a lot of people actually get the minimum amount of sleep they’re supposed to every night.
Everything from anxiety to our favorite TV show can keep us up at night and the consequences of sleep deprivation are terrible. When you don’t give your body those amount of hours it needs to restore energy levels, build up the immune system, fight viruses, you are more likely to experience a downfall in both your physical and mental health.
We could go on talking about the scientifically-proven benefits of power naps, but we’re not going to bother you with the specifics. The important thing to keep in mind is that power naps can help combat some of that sleep deprivation and they can provide energy levels boost and improved performance in the short-term. But something that a lot of people don’t know is that power naps are way more efficient for people who actually get enough sleep during the night.
Should You Power Nap at Work?
The answer is yes, as long as you have a 30 minute/1 hour break and you can afford to take a short nap. People that take power naps at work do so in their lunch breaks, but they also need to have a suitable space to do it. Here are some tips that might come in handy:
- The first thing to keep in mind is that you actually need a proper location to take a nap. It needs to be somewhere quiet and private, not necessarily on the most comfortable couch in the world. Some people also take naps in their cars, so prioritize private places instead of comfortable and noisy ones.
- Evidence shows that people are more likely to fall asleep if they have a personal prop that they associate with sleep time. It can be anything from your favorite music to your favorite essential oils.
- Always make sure that you set an alarm so you don’t sleep longer than the recommended 20 minutes. If you sleep for longer than that, you are likely to enter the deep sleep stage, which will cause you to wake up feeling groggy and unable to concentrate (that’s something you surely want to avoid while at work). So, you will either have to nap for 20 minutes or a full 90 minutes (to ensure that you pass through the entire sleep cycle).
- Timing is also important when it comes to power napping, and this is where things can get a little tricky if you can’t stick to what we’re about to tell you. The best time to take a power nap is about one or two hours after having lunch. That is when your blood sugar levels drop, taking your energy with them. Since this is the time when most people are already considering that second cup of coffee, it would be best to replace it with a 20-minute nap, assuming that your job allows you to take that break.
- When your 20 minutes are up, it’s really important that you resume your activities instead of lingering in that “I’m still waking up” stage. If possible, try to soak some sunlight for a couple of minutes or resume whatever it was you were doing before taking the nap. The important thing is to get your body into a working mood again, even if that means heading to the bathroom and washing your face.
Other Important Considerations
We keep talking about power naps at work and the benefits they can provide, but we have yet to address a very specific type of worker: the one who does shifts. People like firefighters, nurses, doctors, or other professionals that work way more hours compared to the regular average will often experience sleep disruptions because of their messy sleeping patterns.
It is believed that shift workers should make a routine out of taking naps whenever possible. Experts suggest that sleeping during downtime is a way to make sleeping more regular and to make sure that your body doesn’t get used to sleeping deprivation.
Also, believe it or not, drinking coffee before you take a power nap might actually help you wake up more revitalized. Some experts suggest that a boost of caffeine that takes about 30 minutes to kick in might be beneficial if ingested before the nap because you will wake up feeling more alert. It is something worth trying if you are a caffeine lover, but otherwise, there isn’t enough evidence to support the benefits of the idea.
It is perfectly ok to power nap at work provided that you have 30 minutes of break to do so and a quiet space. The entire idea behind a power nap is to allow your body and your brain to enjoy the sleep stages before the deep sleep (REM) stage.
It’s really important that you stick to a maximum of 30 minutes or sleep or, alternatively, try to sleep 90 minutes. That’s because if you manage to enter the deep sleep stage and have to abruptly wake up, you are not going to feel very energized, you will most likely feel groggy and unable to focus. So, as long as you stick to the tips, you should be able to enjoy a good power nap.