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6 Keys to a Better Power Nap

bengarrison / flickr

Getting proper nutrition is crucial, but if you eat a bad meal or even skip a meal, you rarely feel like you are ready to collapse. Regular exercise is paramount, but if you skip a workout, it does not weaken your immune system, decrease your mental clarity, or destroy your mood.

Sleep, on the other hand, is the foundation of everything we do. It allows us to rebuild our bodies, to replenish our chemical stores, and to have the alertness to function throughout the day.

In 2001, the National Sleep Foundation performed their famous Sleep in America survey, which found that...

  • 63% of adults get less than the recommended eight hours of sleep per night.
  • 31% of adults get less than seven hours of sleep. 
  • Over 40% of adults in the US report having trouble staying awake during the day.

One solution: Take daily power naps. Research has shown that the restorative effects of a short nap were observed after a normal night's sleep, after a restricted night's sleep, and even during 64 hours of continuous work. What's more, taking a brief break and clearing your mind has been shown to greatly enhance your creativity later in the day.

Here are a few tips to nap great:

  1. Limit your nap to 20 minutes or less. Longer naps tend to create sleep inertia (a period of lethargy, poor mood, and decreased alertness following the nap) and to reduce the effectiveness of evening sleeping, where the deeper stages of sleep occur.
  2. Don't worry if you don't fall asleep. Just closing your eyes and relaxing peacefully will be refreshing.
  3. Urinate before you settle in. Sounds crazy, but it helps.
  4. Find a quiet dark place and close the door so you will not be disturbed.
  5. Set a timer so you don't stress about oversleeping.
  6. Listen to some quiet relaxing music to drown out the outside noise. Practice clearing your thoughts and focusing on your breathing.

Scott Peltin is one of the founding partners and chief performance officer of TIGNUM, the leading sustainable performance institute for corporate leaders. To learn more, visit tignum.com.

Tags: Rest, Work, Sleep, Relaxation, Longevity, Health, Leisure Time

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