Ever sat at your desk after lunch and felt your eyes drooping? You want to stay awake but no matter what they keep sliding closed… maybe because you stayed up too late playing Baldur’s Gate 3.

Rather than fighting it, there is another solution. Instead of spending the rest of your day fighting the oncoming snooze, try revitalizing yourself with a quick power nap instead.

Surprisingly, power naps can be really good for your health, as long as you’re going about them the right way. Let’s take a look at the best ways to power nap so you can be up seducing Asatrion and working hard again, soon.

What’s a power nap?

a woman taking a nap at work

Power naps are taking a brief moment of rest of a few minutes. In other words, a short nap.

The goal is not to sleep soundly but to rest to combat the mid-day slump and find a boost of energy so you can power through the rest of the day (hence, a power nap!).

Trust the experts! Sleep specialists have found there are lots of benefits in taking a restorative power nap.

How long is a power nap?

Power naps ideally lasts less than 10 minutes, but can extend to around 30 minutes maximum.

That’s because when you take a power nap you enter a state similar to light sleep. So, it's easy to emerge and return to your activities, feeling fresh and rested. You are in a state of relaxation, but your brain is still receptive to external stimuli.

However, you can’t doze too far off! Longer naps leave you more likely to fall into deep sleep mode. Waking up from that kind of nap can result in feeling dazed, drowsy, and worse than you did before you lay down. Not conducive for good sleep health.

❤️Are power naps good for you?

illustration showing the benefits of napping

 When done correctly, a brief nap can have many positive effects on your body and mental health, including:

  • Boost of energy: Closing your eyes for just a few minutes can give you that boost that you lack in the middle of the day.
  • 📒 Improved cognitive performance and productivity: In addition to giving you energy, this sleep time helps improve concentration, creativity and memory. You’ll be more efficient and more productive!
  • 😰 Stress reduction: Stressed by the mountain of work piling up? A restorative power nap will relieve that tension and reduce the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body.
  • 😂 Improvement in mood: Fatigue can leave you snappy and stressed. Taking a very short a short power nap can really improve your mood and general mental wellbeing. That way you can face the rest of the day with ease. Or at least…. more easily.

🕑When to take a power nap

a man sleeps on the couch with his laptop on his lap

Our biological rhythm requires us to sleep at night, but there is another time when we wouldn't say no to a good nap: early in the afternoon, after lunch. That’s because that's when our body decides to send a spike in melatonin (the sleep hormone).

Having just eaten a meal can cause this spike to increase, which is why you usually feel sleepy after a big lunch and start dreaming about daytime napping.

So, for a power nap to be truly effective, it’s best to do it as soon as you feel a slump and drop in alertness. Alertness decreases every 90 minutes so try to plan around that if possible!

Like your sleep cycle, or circadian rhythm, activity spikes are also divided into 90-minute cycles. It’s often at the end of one of these natural cycles that your alertness starts to decrease.

That’s the perfect opportunity to take a break! Choosing a time where your body is already slipping into a less alert state makes falling asleep for a daytime nap easier.

But don’t fall into the trap of finishing work and napping for hours, you’ll feel worse and your nighttime sleep will suffer.

🥱Who is power napping for?

a Woman suffering from sleep deprivation at home

Everyone! No one is gatekeeping power napping, feel free to go at it.

But, those of us in stressful jobs who need to decompress will find power napping particularly effective. The same goes for those with a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or insomnia, or anyone who is suffering from sleep deprivation.

How to make the most of your power nap

Sleeping on command isn't necessarily the easiest thing in the world but there are ways to train your body to become a power napping expert.

Using these tips, you can fall asleep quicker than Snorlax.

🛏️ Find the right place

While technically you can power nap wherever you want, trains…. planes… automobiles… it’s generally recommended you look for a quiet and comfortable place.

Preferably somewhere you can doze off for a few minutes without being disturbed and where you can lie down comfortably. Somewhere where the noises around you won’t be distracting or disturbing.

If necessary, you can use noise-cancelling headphones to achieve this state of peace and quiet. This is particularly useful if you’re a parent of small children or an exuberant dog.

💤Creating the perfect conditions for snoozing

Find somewhere you can dim the lights for a calming, relaxed atmosphere. If you can be in total darkness, then even better. Turn off your lights or pop a sleep mask in your desk drawer so you can slide it out when you see an opportunity for a power nap.

Then, adopt a position that allows total muscle relaxation; either lying down or sitting comfortably, it’s up to you. Finally, eliminate those distractions! Turn off your phone, tablet or any other device that will ping you notifications while you’re trying to snooze.

🧘Try calming exercises to fall asleep faster

If you have trouble falling asleep quickly, try some meditative techniques that can help you drift off. This could be breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, meditation or listening to soft music that helps calm and soothe the mind.

⏰Respect the power nap

a Woman suffering from sleep deprivation at home

As easy as it is to fall into bed for four hours, this completely defeats the purpose of the power nap. To truly feel it’s benefits you should not exceed the recommended time (preferably 10-20 minutes). Otherwise, you’ll risk falling into a REM sleep cycle that will leave you drowsy.

Program your alarm clock with a soft, gentle wake-up tone that lets you gently return to the horrors of the real world.

Napping at work is possible

Although maybe don’t tell your employer we said that.

Or, on the other hand, tell them, and show them this article to explain exactly why it’s a good thing.

Power naps don’t actually impact work time or production value. They also don’t necessarily require a dedicated sleeping space… although if you’re lucky enough to have a nap room, then take advantage of it!

And if you don’t have a nap room but want your company to consider it, just tell them NASA found that naps can improve performance by 34% and alertness by 100%. Which seems particularly important if you’re an astronaut.

You can even take a power nap in your office chair. Just lean back with your head resting on your forearms or back against the seat. It’s better than hiding under your desk out of sight of your boss, like a former colleague of mine.

How to take a power nap: Final thoughts

Power naps are perfect for bursts of energy after a less alert period, getting rid of that midday slump.

Short in duration (up to 30 minutes max), it’s easy to implement into your routine and extremely beneficial to your health. Make sure to respect the basic rules of an effective power nap: a good location, good conditions, meditation or breathing exercises to fall asleep quickly, and not exceeding the maximum amount of time allotted for the snooze.

At first you might struggle to limit your nap time to these short bursts, but it will eventually get easier and you’ll emerge more rested, focused and ready to face the day!

So don't hesitate to give yourself these few minutes of sleep and make this habit part of your daily life.


Tagged: Sommeil