It isn’t uncommon for folks to start hitting a wall at work in the afternoon, leading many to head for that afternoon cup of coffee to give them a jolt. But it turns out there’s a better way to recharge you may not be considering – the power nap.
That’s right, while some may think the idea of a power nap is a myth, experts say if done right it can actually give folks the boost they need to get through the rest to their day. As Rebecca Robbins, a sleep scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, shares, “A power nap can provide the refreshment you need if you're struggling to stay alert or haven't had a good night's sleep,” adding "it gives people the chance to rest for a short period of time to boost workplace productivity.”
But to get the benefits of a power nap, you have to do it correctly. According to sleep experts, power naps should only be about 20 to 30 minutes, and you really aren’t supposed to actually fall asleep. Former professor and chair of psychology at Cornell University James Maas coined the phrase “power nap,” and explains, “It's an opportunity to shut your eyes, breathe slowly and recharge."
But be careful of napping for too long. Maas notes that anything longer than 40 minutes could leave you feeling “groggy” for at least an hour afterwards. But if you’ve done your 20 minutes and still feel groggy, he suggests something as simple as splashing cold water on your face could fix that.
Some tips for the perfect power nap include:
- Set a specific time and find a comfortable place for your nap.
- Keep your alarm away from your bed so you won’t hit snooze and nap for too long.
- After your nap don't stay inside, get out and get a little daylight to combat grogginess.
- If you’re someone who has trouble sleeping at night, skip the nap.
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