Much like the story on hammocks, I’ve put a lot of personal research time into this topic. I just hope you appreciate the result of my intensive studies into napping. Here we have a quick lesson on how you can boost your productivity, energy, and creativity with a mid-day nap.
Step 1: Don’t feel guilty. Napping has a bad stigma about it, that napping is for lazy people. The truth is many of the highest achieving individuals throughout history understood and appreciated the power of a good nap. Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and even the anything-but-lazy Lance Armstrong. NASA conducted a study on naps and concluded a 34% increase of performance, and 54% boost to alertness.
Step 2: Pick the right time. Generally, the best time is whenever you feel draggy, or over-loaded. However, you may want to avoid late-afternoon, as napping during this low part of our daily cycle may leave you feeling groggy for an extended time. You will wake up from any nap feeling a little out of it, but that will pass within ten minutes and you’ll end up with more energy than before.
Step 3: Find the right spot. You need to be undisturbed for the next little while, and it’s also best if you can turn off the lights. Darkness stimulates a sleep-inducing hormone.
Step 4: Choose the right length for your nap. Up to a point, the longer you nap, the more restorative benefits you can rack up. Here’s a guide to optimal napping times…
- 10 to 20 seconds – there is no benefit from nodding off, other than signaling that you should take a real nap!
- 2 to 5 minutes – a quick way to shake off the feeling of sleepiness.
- 5 to 20 minutes – increased alertness and ability to learn and perform motor skills.
- 20 minutes – lets your brain rest enough to improve memory and ability to learn new information.
- 50 to 90 minutes – you get in some deep sleep as well, allowing your whole body to rest and restore
So the ideal target is 15 to 20 minutes. Set an alarm and go for it. Albert Einstein would nap in his chair while holding a pencil. He would wake up when he naturally dropped the pencil, to ensure he didn’t fall into a deep sleep, then he went back to what he was working on with more alertness and energy… and boy did that guy know energy!