While we can’t make up for lost sleep, taking a quick power-nap at strategic times during the work day can increase your productivity by 35% and decision making ability by up to 50% (Source: NASA). Executives and leaders with a strategic approach to Sustainable High Performance are well aware that their energy during the day needs to be oscillatory rather than linear. This means that we need to exert, but then also strategically recharge, our energy levels within each of our energy buckets (Mental, Physical, Emotional, Spiritual). These ‘High Performers’ no longer believe the myth that napping is for old people, or a sign of weakness, waste of time, or just for the lazy!
6 tips for better power napping:
- Limit your nap to 30 minutes or less. Longer naps tend to create sleep inertia (a period of lethargy, poor mood, and decreased alertness following the nap) and can reduce the effectiveness of evening sleeping, where the deeper stages of sleep occur.
- Unless you work at Google and have access to sleep pods (think ‘The Internship’ movie), an office chair of lying supine (on your back) on a yoga mat on the office floor is best. Avoid getting into bed.
- Don’t stress if you can’t fall asleep. Just having a moment to close your eyes, getting them off your computer screen, will be relaxing and refreshing. Concentrate on slowing your breathing rate and calming your pulse rate.
- Find a quiet dark place and close the door so you will not be disturbed.
- Set your alarm so you don’t stress about oversleeping. Listen to some quiet relaxing music to mask any outside noise.
- Most research suggests that napping between 12pm-3pm is best.
Optimal napping length:
- NASA’s Fatigue Counter Measures Program found that a short nap improved performance by an average of 34%, decision making by 50%, and alertness by 100%.
- Leading Sleep Scientist Sara Mednick, from University of California San Diego, says that naps at different durations result in different benefits. For example, a 10 to 20 minute nap will provide a quick boost of alertness while mitigating the onset of sleep inertia. Amazingly, Mednick has also shown that memory performance, after a 60-90 minute nap, equaled that of a full 8 hour sleep.
- A 2008 study showed that naps are better than caffeine when it comes to improving verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning.
Thanks for reading. This topic always raises some interesting discussions within our ‘Sleep and Fatigue Management’ programs and ‘Shift-work’ seminars. I’d love to hear your thoughts or tips on the topic.
Pro-Fit Corporate Health
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