Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Power napping is said to be the perfect recharge?one of the simplest and most effective ways of filling up on the energy reserves and boosting several functions of the body.

Power napping is the practice of napping for a short period of time (20 – 30 minutes), ideally in the afternoon. This practice is known to yield several health benefits, like an ideal way to boost productivity, reduction in stress levels, improved learning, better heart rate, and several more. So, how is power napping relevant to you? Maybe the following Buzzle excerpt might draw in a parallel.

There is that particular time at least once a day when you feel your mind shutting down, your eyes getting heavier, the computer screen getting blurry, and you slipping into a vacuum ... sleep attack, sleep attack! So, you force yourself upright, rush to the washroom, and splash cold water onto your face till your senses are back. You get a cup of coffee, and you go back to orienting yourself to work. Chances are that the sleep monster will come attacking sometime in the day again.

Stop pushing your brain and body to the limits. Extract peak performance out of your system by squeezing in a snappy shut-eye at work.It is treated with contempt, associated with laziness and the power of its 20-odd minutes to rejuvenate your brain and body is so underrated that the only feeling you wake up to is guilt.Take a Power naps – a quick rest to help us concentrate and refocus for the rest of the day. 

How Power Naps Help

You may feel putting in extra hours at work instead of dozing increases productivity, but it doesn't. Napping reverses information overload, brightens up your memory retention and heightens the senses. Naps reboot our system much like a few cups of coffee or a round of yoga. Our brain and body need time to recuperate from fatigue. Especially after lunch, when we feel the need to take a power nap, we must. A 20-minute nap lowers blood pressure and lessens heart load.

Productivity starts dipping the moment you feel the weight of your eyelids. Napping for 30 minutes, increases alertness by 100 per cent and prepares you for the next 10 hours. However, when at work, if you nap for more than 45 minutes, you may suffer from 'sleep inertia' or grogginess.However, too much napping can mask conditions such as sleep apnea.

Health Benefits of Power Napping

Reduced Stress Levels
Power napping leads to a significant reduction in stress levels, which automatically leads to less irritability and anger.

Increase in Productivity and Efficiency
As tiredness leaves, a person becomes more alert and awake, thus, leading to an increase in productivity and efficiency.

Boost in Creativity
A rested mind is able to come up with better ideas, and goes beyond the obvious to explore a more creative side of the subject.

Improved Memory and Better Learning
A power nap erases the information overload, and makes more space for new information to be processed, hence, improving learning skills.

Good Heart Health
A power nap reduces the chances of developing heart conditions and heart diseases by reducing stress levels in the body.

Increased Cognitive Functioning
People who undertake power naps are able to think faster and more efficiently, and carry forth cognitive activities, like solving puzzles better.

Motivation for Exercise
With the problem of accumulation of sleep being taken care of, one no longer avoids exercising on account of being tired and sleepy.

Types of  Power Nap

The nano-nap
Duration: 10-20 seconds.
This happens on your commute, when you nod off on your passenger's shoulder.

The micro-nap
Duration: Two to five minutes.
This shoots down sleepiness pretty efficiently

The mini-nap
Duration: Five to 18 minutes.
This increases alertness, stamina, motor performance and learning.

The original power nap
Duration: 20 minutes
This packs in the multiple benefits of the micro and the mini naps, but also enhances muscle memory and clears the brain of useless data buildup, which helps with long-term memory.

The lazy man's nap
Duration: 50 to 90 minutes
This includes slow-wave plus Rapid Eye Movement sleep, and it improves perceptual processing. It also aids bone and muscle repair.

Ideal Time and Duration For Power Nap

It's not hard to figure what time works best for your nap. If you are an early riser and early sleeper, nap at around 1 or 1.30 pm. If you hit the bed post midnight, your nap calls out to you around 3 pm. Any time between the 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. window is considered ideal for napping. Napping after 4 p.m. should ideally be avoided as it interferes with the nighttime sleep pattern. An hour before your nap, eat calcium and protein-rich foods as they promote sleep.

Our sleep consists of cycles?the first two are considered light, whereas by the 3rd and 4th cycle we enter what is known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, or really deep sleep. The trick is to not get into REM sleep, which comes roughly at about 60 – 90 minutes after sleeping. When one wakes up from this REM sleep, it leaves the sleep cycle incomplete, thus, increasing the risk of experiencing sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is characterized by a feeling of extreme grogginess, irritability, a decrease in motor dexterity, and could go on to affect the ability to perform physical and cognitive tasks?both simple and complex.

An ideal nap should last for 20 – 40 minutes. Some people take a nap of 10 minutes, and some may exceed the time to an hour?this depends on each person's needs.

At work, cut down your lunch time and use those 15 minutes to nap. The best way to fire up the benefits of a quick nap is to immediately break into a few stretches, pacing across the corridor or a quick bout of yoga that won't look awkward around colleagues. 

Important Tips to Follow

Set an alarm before you sleep so that you do not exceed your napping time.

Unless one is already dozing off, falling asleep could take some time. The following are ways to aid this process.

Use an eye mask to shut out the light. The brain takes longer to shut down if it is distracted by a light source. Moreover, the darkness stimulates melatonin, which is the sleep-inducing hormone.

Some people concentrate on their breathing pattern or listen to soft, soothing music to help sleep faster.

Be consistent in your timing to take a nap. If you think that the ideal time to take a nap is at 3 p.m. every afternoon, continue to follow the same timings every day.

Try timing your nap to about 8 hours after waking up. This is considered an ideal time to recharge.

Though indulging in a power nap at work or otherwise is not an accepted norm in many parts of the world, people are now waking up to the many health benefits that power napping has to offer, because it acts as an important break at work. And it is due to this that several corporate and business houses have started having napping areas, given that it increases the efficiency and productivity of their employees. Maybe you can suggest the same to your bosses too.

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