Whether you're feeling sleepy when you're working during the day, working late, or working on a night shift, or trying to fight drowsiness while driving, power naps can make you more awake and productive, but that only works if you do it right. Scientists have been studying power naps for quite some time, and their results show that to get maximum effectiveness from power naps, proper steps must be followed.
Part 1 of 3: Finding a Good Place to Sleep for a while
Step 1. Find a good place to sleep for a while
In order for a nap to be effective, you need to find a place for a nap that will not be disturbed by others.
- Take a nap at work. A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation shows that about 30% of people are allowed to sleep at work, and some employers even provide workers with a place to sleep. If your employer doesn't allow workers to sleep for a while, you can do a power nap in the car.
- Take a nap on the way. If you drive a car, find a rest area to park the car. Do not park the car on the shoulder of the road. Make sure that you always turn off the car and apply the handbrake. If you want to rest at night, park the car in a well-lit area and lots of people, and make sure that you lock all doors.
- Take a nap at school. If you have free time, and are allowed to take a nap, consider doing it in the library. The library is usually the quietest place in the school. In addition, you can sleep for a while in the car, if you drive to school.
Step 2. Choose a dark room
In dark conditions, you will fall asleep faster. If you can't find a dark room, wear a sleep mask or at least goggles to create a bit of darkness for yourself.
Step 3. Make sure that the room is neither too hot nor too cold
You should sleep for a while in comfortable conditions, so find a cool, comfortable place to rest. Most people are able to sleep comfortably at 18°C.
If your resting area is too cold, prepare a comfortable blanket or jacket to wear. If your resting area is too hot, consider installing a fan in the room, if possible
Step 4. Listen to the recorded power nap guide
There are many videos, recordings, and apps that can guide you to sleep through relaxation techniques. You can find these recordings and videos on online player sites or download them to your phone or tablet.
If you use your phone to listen to a recorded power nap guide, first switch it to airplane mode so that no messages or phone calls can come in and disturb your sleep
Step 5. Play some relaxing music
Soothing music can ease your mind. If you feel that music is bothering you, you can try using white noise. If you are resting in the car, you can set the radio to play static between stations.
Part 2 of 3: Determining the Length of a Moment's Sleep
Step 1. Decide how long you want to sleep for a moment
The duration of a power nap should be between 10 and 30 minutes. However, both short and long sleep have advantages. Therefore, determine the length of your short sleep, and make sure that you follow the time you set.
Step 2. Sleep for two to five minutes
If you don't have much time, but are too sleepy to be able to continue with whatever you're doing, a two- to five-minute nap, also known as a "nano-nap", can help you reduce drowsiness.
Step 3. Sleep for five to twenty minutes
Five to twenty minutes of sleep is good for staying awake, and also increases stamina and motor performance. A short nap of this duration is also known as a "mini-nap".
Step 4. Sleep for twenty minutes
Twenty minutes of sleep is referred to as a "power nap" by most people, and is the most ideal for most people. In addition to the benefits that can be obtained from short sleep for a shorter duration, power naps also make the brain discard unimportant information stored in short-term memory, and also improve muscle memory.
- Power naps provide the benefits of the first two stages of the sleep cycle. Both stages occur within the first twenty minutes of sleep. In addition to reducing drowsiness and making you more awake, electrical signals in your nervous system strengthen the connections between neurons in muscle memory, allowing your brain to work more quickly and accurately.
- Power naps are especially useful when you're trying to remember important things, such as when you're preparing for an exam.
Step 5. Sleep for fifty to ninety minutes
Sleeping that long is known as "Lazy Man's Nap", and it allows you to achieve slow-wave REM sleep (also known as deep sleep). Meaning that you get to go through an entire sleep cycle.
For example, if you have some free time to sleep, and are very tired both physically and mentally after a long night's work, sleeping that long can help you, as it gives your body plenty of time to repair itself
Step 6. Be aware of the effects of short sleep of more than 30 minutes
Despite the benefits of sleeping longer, you run the risk of experiencing "sleep inertia," which is a feeling of heaviness and lightheadedness after sleep.
Part 3 of 3: Maximizing Short Sleep Results
Step 1. Turn off the phone and other things that can disturb you
If you use your phone as an alarm, turn on airplane mode so you won't be disturbed by phone notifications.
If the noise around you is unavoidable, or if you suffer from tinnitus, listening to soothing music using headphones may help. You can also try using earplugs
Step 2. Post a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door when you are taking a break at work
Write down when you can be searched again. That way, you can prevent coworkers from interrupting your rest.
Step 3. Consume caffeine right before bed
This may sound a bit counterintuitive because caffeine is a strong stimulant, but you won't feel its effects immediately, especially if you're only taking a break for less than thirty minutes. Caffeine has to travel through your intestines, and it can take 45 minutes to be absorbed. Trying a "caffeine sleep," which means you have to take 200 mg of caffeine, then sleep for 20 minutes, can improve your performance and also reduce sleepiness when you wake up.
However, if it is late afternoon, you are advised not to consume caffeine, because you will find it more difficult to fall asleep at night. You can also skip caffeine if you're trying to break free from addiction
Step 4. Set an alarm
After you've almost finished your coffee (or green tea, caffeinated jello shot, etc.), set an alarm that will wake you up after your desired amount of sleep has passed. By setting an alarm, you can feel relieved that you won't be sleeping longer than you want.
- Think about how long it will take you to fall asleep. If you want to sleep for 20 minutes, and it usually takes you five minutes to fall asleep, it is recommended that you set an alarm to sound after the next 25 minutes. If you fall asleep very quickly, you may only need to add a minute or two to your desired bedtime.
- If you're a person who's used to hitting the "snooze" button and going back to sleep, place the alarm on the other side of the room, or as far away from yourself as possible, so it won't be easy for you to turn it off.
Step 5. Close your eyes and try to relax
If you take caffeine, you can do it right after you finish it, but if you don't, you can do it as soon as you feel comfortable and set an alarm.
Step 6. Try the "4-7-8 exercise" to fall asleep quickly
If you're having trouble falling asleep, try the following exercise: Close your eyes, then exhale completely. Then, inhale slowly and count to four. Hold your breath, then count to seven; then, try to exhale through your mouth to a count of eight, whistling. Inhale again, then repeat the cycle three or four times. The exercise will only take about 60 seconds, and you should fall asleep quickly after that
- You can also let go of all thoughts. After that, try to focus solely on breathing. This method is very similar to meditation, but can help you relax and fall asleep quickly.
- Try to count backwards from 100 slowly. If you forget where you counted, simply repeat from 100. This will keep your mind off the things that keep you awake.
- You can also try a power nap machine or CD, which is sold, to play a special song designed to trigger drowsiness and make it easier to fall asleep.
Step 7. Make sure that your eyes are always closed
If you can't fall asleep while resting, try to keep your eyes closed and meditate. Even if you're not asleep, you can do something to restore some brain power. Also, getting into the habit of taking short naps in your daily life (snaps after lunch, for example) can help you "train" your body to need short naps during those hours, and it will be easier for you to fall asleep.
Step 8. Wake up as soon as possible after the alarm goes off
Don't get carried away with wanting to sleep longer. Ideally, you'll feel more refreshed when you wake up, but sometimes you'll feel like sleeping more; try to resist the urge to sleep longer, which can damage your sleep habits and may also cause sleep inertia when you wake up later.
- Continue with physical activity. Increase your heart rate a little by doing a few reps of jumping jacks or push-ups. You can also try jogging on the spot.
- Wash your face and find a bright source of light (such as sunlight), which can make you more awake, if you still feel dizzy after waking up.
- Force yourself to wake up! Even though sleep makes you very relaxed, you need to get up and get things done. Excessive power naps can ruin your sleep habits, so make sure to get enough sleep quickly.
- If you're sleepy, don't wait any longer; sleep for a while.
- Make sure that you prefer a short nap over caffeine, or try taking caffeine before bed as described above. However, be aware that caffeine will not provide the benefits of a power nap, especially in high doses.
- Sleeping too long during the day will keep you awake at night. Keep that in mind.
- Try using a machine or a power nap CD (such as the Power Nap brand), which plays special audio to guide your brain to sleep for a while. Power Nap triggers the brain to enter into a deep sleep cycle and REM, so users will immediately feel refreshed after just resting for 20 minutes.
- Sleeping too late can disrupt your sleep habits, and also make you sleep deprived in the morning.
- Find the short sleep length that works best for you! Some people feel very comfortable after sleeping for 20 minutes, while there are also those who only feel satisfied after sleeping for more than 30 minutes.
- Remember that power naps make you more productive. Some people are reluctant to take short naps because it seems like "lazy" behavior, but if that's the case, why do successful shops and athletes take power naps? There are sources who report that Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison are figures who routinely do power naps.
- Power naps can only prolong the activity of the body and brain to a certain extent, and cannot replace the benefits of a good night's sleep. If you're sleep deprived, you'll need to make up for your sleep deprivation before you can fully benefit from a power nap.
- Although commonly found in soda, coffee, tea, and "energy drinks," caffeine is a strong substance and may be addictive. Excessive use of caffeine can lead to dependence, and cause side effects, such as disruption of normal sleep cycles. Therefore, it is important to keep caffeine consumption to a minimum.