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Need to recharge? You don't need a jolt of caffeine to help you feel better. A power nap has the ability to boost your memory, cognitive skills, creativity, and energy level.

That’s right! 

There are benefits of taking a quick power nap and enjoying a mental timeout from the chaos and rigors of the day.  Those benefits include not only reduced fatigue and increased alertness, but also improvement in mood and performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory. 

Less is more

Not all naps are created equal. In fact, many factors go into how effective a midday nap can be. By understanding the functions of a nap, you can take steps to make your naps more effective so they not only support your body’s internal circadian rhythm, but also help you maintain adequate energy levels throughout the day.

When you think of a nap, does laying around idly on the couch, on a lazy Sunday come to mind? In reality, the best naps are short. Yes, the key to successful power napping lies in its length.  According to a study by NASA,  a 26-minute nap improved the performance of  pilots and astronauts by 34% and alertness by 100%. [1]

Timing is everything

The siesta, a short nap taken in the early afternoon, is a historically common tradition in many Mediterranean countries and in Southern Europe. In fact, according to a 2007 study, napping in the afternoon has been associated with a 37 percent reduction in coronary mortality, possibly due to reduced cardiovascular stress mediated by daytime sleep. Therefore, it does seem logical to assume that the sweet spot for a power nap would be  around the generally accepted ‘siesta time,” usually after lunch and before 3PM. This is a reasonable choice because It’s usually the post-lunch energy crash which causes some individuals to feel drained and lose focus. The key is to not nap later in the day.  Depending on your established bedtime, taking that power nap after 3PM could negatively impact  your night’s sleep. [2]

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s best to keep in mind that individual factors, such as your specific need for sleep, your sleeping schedule, your age and any medication you take, may also play a role in determining the best time of day to nap.[3] 

Finding your ‘nappy’ place

Although the time and length of your nap is very important, choosing an appropriate place for a midday snooze also plays a significant role in whether your nap will be restorative or drain your energy, leaving you groggy and even more tired than when you started. 

Choose a place where you are least likely to be disturbed and minimize all distractions. Nothing ruins a perfect power nap, like constant interruptions or phone notifications. Close your laptop, turn off your monitor, and put your phone on silent mode.  This is a time when a mindful alarm clock like, like Mudita Harmony, comes in handy.  Mudita Harmony has a dedicated Power Nap timer, which lets you quickly set the desired nap duration, without changing or adjusting the alarm time. 

If you can lie down, that’s great, however, an ergonomic desk chair or a reclining office chair will do just fine. If you have noise-reducing headphones, make use of them. In addition to keeping the intrusive noise out, they can act as a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign to your colleagues!

PRO NAP TIP:  If drinking a cup of coffee and then taking a quick nap sounds odd to you, you're not alone. Most of us believe that caffeine interferes with sleep. However, there is scientific evidence that drinking a cup of coffee immediately before napping has the ability to maximize alertness in a way that coffee a nap alone can’t do. You see, when you drink a cup of coffee, the caffeine doesn’t kick in right away. It takes anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes for the caffeine to really do its job. This way, if you drink a cup of coffee right before your power nap, you’ll feel more alert when you wake up. [4]

Take it from someone who naps like a PRO- Try it and let us know what if it worked for you. 

If you’d like to read more about topics connected to this subject, please check out some of our other articles published on our blog:

Happy Napping! 

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