Three unconventional strategies for your best nap ever
Perhaps it’s those countless late nights spent racing to finish an already-overdue project. Maybe it’s catching a 5:00 a.m. cross-country flight too many times this month. Whatever the reason, you’ve got a mounting sleep debt and don’t have time to squeeze in the recommended seven hours per night. So you need to find a way to recharge your brain and body without sacrificing your productivity. It’s time to schedule a nap.
Napping is the secret of successful CEOs and heads of state. CEO and motivational speaker Michael Hyatt admits to being a habitual napper and has been quoted as saying that the secret to being more productive is managing your energy rather than your time. It certainly worked for John F. Kennedy, who napped every day after lunch. But to get the most out of it, you need to ignore the usual sleep advice and remember three things: less is more, keep your phone on and drink caffeine.
Follow these tips to supercharge your next nap.
Plan a power nap
When you think of a nap, do you think of losing hours on the couch on a lazy Sunday? In reality, the best naps are short. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a NASA study found that a 40-minute nap for pilots and astronauts improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%. Even 20 minutes can help improve short-term alertness. You may not be flying a fighter jet, but that improved alertness can make all the difference during an important pitch meeting or presentation. Even if you can’t actually fall asleep during your naptime, don’t worry—you’ll still get a boost. According to the National Sleep Foundation, resting with closed eyes and a quiet mind is almost as beneficial to your brain as a short nap.
How to avoid the sluggish post nap feeling
Hate that groggy feeling when your alarm jolts you out of a deep sleep? Waking up at the wrong time in your sleep cycle may make you feel worse than having no nap at all. That’s why instead of shutting your phone off or leaving it in another room, you should nap with it as close to you as possible (just make sure you turn of all notifications for calls and texts).
There are apps for your phone that will wake you up at the perfect time in your sleep cycle by using the phone’s accelerometer to monitor your body’s signals. By choosing a shorter nap time of about 20–45 minutes, you’ll wake up before you go into a deep sleep and avoid a post-nap fog. You can also choose one full sleep cycle—which lasts about 90 minutes—if you need a complete recharge. A recent study found that a 90-minute nap (but no longer) can boost cognitive function, giving you the brain energy you need to tackle complex tasks.
Have a matcha shot before your nap
Matcha is a powdered green tea that provides a concentrated dose of caffeine. According to the US Institute of Medicine, it takes about 15 minutes for orally ingested caffeine to start entering the blood stream. If you drink a shot of matcha before your nap, you’ll ideally wake up just as the caffeine is hitting your system. Why not just drink a Red Bull instead? Matcha also contains l-theanine, an amino acid with a calming effect. Unlike in coffee or energy drinks, the combination of caffeine and l-theanine in matcha means you’ll experience an energy boost without the jitters or crash. Just don’t try this too late in the day. Caffeine has a half life of 2.5–4.5 hours, meaning a late-afternoon dose could disrupt your ability to get a much-needed full night’s sleep.
So now that you’ve got your strategy, find a quiet spot, grab an eye mask and settle into your new napping ritual—and then watch your productivity levels skyrocket.
Written by Pamela Hernandez
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