Ever tried taking a powernap and ended up feeling even more tired as a result? Powersnooze.com creator, Paul Cashon explains the reasons why we can often end up more tired after a short nap and teaches us the art to a successful “powernap”.
A powernap is a short sleep or “nap” used to revitalize the body, enhance alertness and improve concentration. In order to be effective, a powernap should end before the mind enters the deep sleep stage of sleep. Deep sleep is the third stage of the normal sleep cycle, where brain waves slow down and is typically after around 45 minutes. Waking up from this stage of sleep will interrupt the sleep cycle and result in “sleep inertia” a phenomena which gives us that characteristic “groggy” feeling. This unpleasant physiological side effect of “interrupted sleep” is often enough to put off people from powernaps for good.
The key to a successful powernap is limiting the length of your nap to less than 45 minutes. Most sleep experts agree that a short nap of around 5-20 minutes is the ideal length for a productive powernap. Research carried out by NASA suggests that by taking short sleeps or “powernaps” you can help re-energise your body and improve alertness and concentration.
It is important to avoid heavy meals prior to your short powernap. You should stay clear of sugary drinks and caffeine at least two hours prior to your session. For the most effective powernap, find a dark room or use eyeshades as the darkness as darkness will stimulate the body to release melatonin, a powerful sleep inducing hormone.
Tips for taking a great powernap;
• Avoid sugary or heavy foods and caffeine two hours prior to sleeping
• Try napping just after lunch and avoid late day naps
• Make sure the room is dark or try using eyeshades
• Sleep 5-20 minutes and no more than 45 minutes.
• Divert that mobile. They will call back, it’s only 10 minutes
• Encourage your colleagues to snooze or tell them not to disturb you
• Set an alarm to wake you up
• Try using relaxing music to help you fall asleep.
Social attitudes to powernaps are different the world over. It’s important to realise that taking a powernap isn’t lazy. Most cultures have long realised the benefits of short restful sleeps in the middle of the day in order to enhance productivity. The “siesta” is a classic example of this. So remember, taking 10 is allowed! If your boss asks, you are increasing your efficiency and alertness in readiness for the rest of the day.