Hacking the Power Nap
Insomnia or no insomnia, it’s not uncommon to feel tired during a busy day. We all have moments (especially after lunch) when we are overcome with bouts of drowsiness and an inexplicable urge to close our eyes for a few moments. But instead of loading our systems with caffeine or taking a quick adrenaline-fuelled walk to wake ourselves up, why not do the total opposite?
Whether you’re a believer or a cynic, power naps are a thing, and they work. It’s first important to establish that napping is not sleeping; while sleeping takes us to a land far, far away in darkness, napping only temporarily distracts us. And while sleep replenishes and regulates our body after a long day, a nap merely revives the mind and gives us a burst of energy to continue with whatever it is we have to do. Experts have advised that 20-30 minutes is ideal between 1pm and 3pm, and have even suggested that a quick snooze can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Still unconvinced? Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.
- Make it snappy. Set an alarm for 30 minutes, or slightly longer if you’re a first timer and don’t go over the limit to avoid feeling groggy.
- Switch off the lights. Dark rooms make for better napping etiquette and easier to drift off.
- Wrap up. Apparently your body temperature drops while you sleep, so pick a comfortable spot and get a blanket or jacket out to stay cosy.
- Get some tunes going. Something repetitive and hypnotic will do, or something calming like the sound of waves or whales. PZIZZ do great, scientifically-approved soundtracks to crack the nap.
- Now for the hardest part. Physical relaxation. Let the body go numb by slowly reducing tension in each part of the body. Start with the head, neck, then shoulders and slowly work your way down to the toes. Try to breathe slowly and more evenly, and shut the eyes for maximum experience.
- Drift off. Let the mind wander, and don’t focus on specifics. Let a blackness take over without losing track of the world entirely. Just rest, and relax.
As always, practice makes perfect. And within weeks, or even days, you’re bound to see an improvement in post-doze energy levels and focus. Pinky promise.