- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
The Best Power Nap Energy Boost and Time Saving Techniques Ever
A good night's sleep is immensely important for good health. Studies show that sleep deprivation, even moderate, can be detrimental to one's health; causing "brain neurons fire more slowly when someone's operating on reduced sleep", slow reaction times, and "...impair performance as much as a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent, beyond the legal limit to drive."
Severe sleep deprivation can lead to death as well.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends:
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours.
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
More information regarding recommended amount of sleep times can be found here: National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times
The techniques presented here should not be used as a substitute for a good night's sleep. Sleep cannot be "replaced", "substituted" or "caught up" in any way. Always, always, always get a good, proper night's sleep over using any "energy restorative" practice or technique, as actual sleep is measurably better by any definition, to a recuperation or "power rest" exercise or practice that isn't a full, restful night of sleep.
Many, many ways to boost...
Fighting off a bad night's sleep can be a pain. According to some doctors , unlike 85% of mammals, we need to sleep once in a twenty four hour period (others argue that this is due to the invention of artificial light.
Especially when compounded with the demands of a full day of work and energy draining social commitments. It can be hellish trying to find a good way to compensate on the fly. Luckily there are several ways to combat the energy sap and buy enough time to get things done.
Some work better than others of course. Yet, having a few techniques to work with helps to figure out which works best for you.
Technique One: "The Classic Straight Nap"
According to a 2009 report by the Pew Research Center, a third of U.S. adults nap on any given day. Sleeping for a short period of time or "napping" is a great way to recoup, in a somewhat tangible way, some of that, oh so precious lost energy.
Though, don't over stay your welcome in the land of nod. A short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance. Sleeping too long, especially when delving into "R.E.M" levels of sleep can be disorienting and make you more tired. The trick is to wake just before entering a deeper sleep. This, of course, holds true for all napping in general. However, the "classic straight nap" is the base line, entry level of "power napping"
Typically, comfort is priority one with doing this, with a few modifications to your environment.
Setting the stage for a good nap is a great way to insure quality rest during your brief sojourn to dreamland. Turning off lights to darken your environment helps, as the ambient light that filters through your closed eyelids can obstruct the siesta process. If possible turn off any lights in your immediate surroundings.
Now, with the lights handled, the next step is "positioning".
Obviously, the best position to sleep in (generally speaking), is laying down. That may take a bit of cleaning, prep, and possible "softening". Softening, meaning a blanket or, as some have suggested a yoga mat. Perhaps, a combination of both would suffice. So, clear some space, lay down your gear and get into it.
Changing the set up for your nap time location is crucial, but depends on the factors you can't change, obviously. They're not going to let you cut the lights, turn everything off, and plop a cot down on a factory floor (if that happens to be where you are). So, you have to think a little outside the box...and turn to modding yourself.
Work Nap Tip!
A fantastic place to catch a quick snooze is your car. The seat reclines, the doors lock and (if it's your style) music can be played. You're out of the way of any potential interruptions, and it can be relatively peaceful.
Modding Yourself For "The Classic"
As mentioned, modifying your environment might not be an option or...just plain dangerous. Should that be the case, the next best thing is modifying yourself. Using sleep aids (not drugs), such as a sleeping mask and ear plugs might be the best way to go.
- Sleep masks - vary by quality and effectiveness. Often they can be a little thin, but still quite effective. You can usually pick them up in multi-packs at various big box stores.
- Ear plugs - also vary by quality and effectiveness. They're often found in pharmacies, hardware stores, and sporting goods stores. [Author's note: the purple kind seem to work the best]
[Author's note: From personal experience, the best sleep mask (the one I keep in my glove compartment just for such nap excursions) I use the most lately, is a combination of mask and noise dampening. It's called the Sleep Master Sleep Mask Plus (it was a stocking stuffer), it's comfortably soft and does a great job. It works even better if ear plugs are used in addition.]
Naps are a Goldilocks and Three Bears kind of endeavor. Too long of a nap can leave you possibly developing “sleep inertia” , which feels like you're "dragging" or "groggy". The best length for a "power nap" is probably around 20-30 minutes, if possible. Too long and you might drag, too short; unrested. Just right...and it can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.
Results vary, of course, as everyone is physically different and process sleep in slightly different ways.
Work Nap Tip Two!
"If you're wearing ear plugs and a mask, try using the vibration feature on a cell phone's alarm to wake you.
Technique Two: "The Coffee Power Nap"
Technique number two, let's call it..."The Coffee Power Nap".
Admittedly, with the use of the word 'coffee' it sounds a little crazy, but it works. Basically, you're power napping while your body processes caffeine, which can take a while.
Here are things you'll need before taking your ultimate power nap:
- An energy drink (cup of coffee, 5 Hour Energy, etc.)
- A nice place to lay your head down (break room, office, car, etc.)
- 15 - 20 minutes of time (break time, end of lunch, lunch, etc.)
Before You Nod Off
With your comfortable spot claimed, let's get to the napping! Before you lay your head down to partially sleep, guzzle down your chosen energy drink ( be it coffee, Red Bull, etc. ).
"Wait, what?", you might be saying. While it's true that an energy drink will give you a boost on it's own, it's not quite as effective as when coupled with a quick nap.
As it turns out, it takes a good 10 to 20 minutes for the caffeine to really work it's magic.
It's that special time of day when you're sapped of energy and it's break time. The perfect time for power napping has arrived. Find a nice spot, perhaps a break room, your car or even a picnic table. A place that provides a good deal of quiet and a seat. It doesn't have to be "library quiet", but, a place that you might not be disturbed for a bit.
You can either sit or if you're lucky enough to lie down, do that.
At the end of your 10 to 20 minute run in dream land, you will awaken refreshed and rested. This feeling is due, in large part, to pulling a ruse on your own body. The short power nap, coupled with the energy drink, feels a lot like a restful 2 hour sleep...only crammed into 10 to 20 minutes.
So, next time, you find yourself on the tail end of a noontime energy drag, take some time and pep up. A good power nap can do wonders.