Want to take a nap, but don’t feel like you have the time? You are probably like a lot of Americans who find they are lagging in the late afternoon – tired, lethargic, irritable, brain turned to mush – sound familiar?
Before you turn to the vending machines or a nasty energy drink that just postpones the crash, try a short nap instead. These naps are not only free, but quick and extremely effective, even more effective in fact, than naps of longer length.
In several studies, researchers found that 10 to 15 minute naps were the best to improve alertness and cognitive performance, (the opposite of brain mush), compared to naps 30, 45, and 90 minutes in length. 2,3,4, 5.
Now who doesn’t have 10 minutes to improve their mental efficiency, productivity, and how much better they’ll feel for the rest of the day? (Bathroom breaks can take longer, and everyone seems to fit those in regularly.)
Perhaps the best nap method is the Power Nap. You don’t need a pillow and a blanket; you don’t even need to go to sleep! You just need a comfortable place to lie on your back, put your feet up, and breathe comfortably.
One of the reasons power naps work so well is because the unique body positioning redistributes blood flow throughout the body. It also relieves tension in the shoulders and in the back. This, along with the restful breathing, results in an immediate increase in energy, the ability to focus, and a general feeling of rejuvenation. 1
Power Naps are easy to do. They don’t take long. There are no dangerous side effects, and the results are amazing. Perhaps this is why power naps are the favorite among thousands of people who have used them to relax and recharge.
You can do power nap on your own, or you can follow along with a download to your mp3 player, i Pod, i Pad, computer, or other audio device.
1. The World Is Not a Stressful Place, Time for a Nap . . . A Power Nap, p.134. Michael Olpin Ph.D. Department of Health Promotion and Human Performance, Weber State University.
2. Journal of Sleep Research. 2002 Sep;11(3):213-8.The recuperative value of brief and ultra-brief naps on alertness and cognitive performance. Tietzel AJ, Lack LC.
3. Ergonomics. 2004 Jul 15;47(9):1003-13. Post-lunch nap as a worksite intervention to promote alertness on the job.Takahashi M, Nakata A, Haratani T, Ogawa Y, Arito H. National Institute of Industrial Health, 6-21-1, Nagao, Tama-ku, Kawasaki 214-8585, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Clinical Neurophysiology. 1999 Feb;110(2):272-9. The effects of a 20 min nap in the mid-afternoon on mood, performance and EEG activity. Hayashi M, Watanabe M, Hori T.Department of Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University, Higashi-hiroshima, Japan.
5. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 1998 Apr;52(2):203-4. The effects of a 20-min nap before post-lunch dip. Hayashi M, Hori T.Department of Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan.
6. Six Minutes to a Better Memory – Health Tip – Real Age Health