The Art and Science of the Power Nap

The Art and Science of the Power Nap

Apparently, Donald Trump needs more sleep.

Entrepreneurs work hard!

We juggle and sprint and multi-task while burning candles at every end. Many take pride in their round-the-clock commitment but working long hours without proper sleep damages not only our productivity but our health.

The “power nap” coined by James Maas, social psychologist at Cornell University and author of the best selling book Power Sleep, is booming in popularity as the benefits of mid day slumber have recently been associated with a whopping 37% reduction in coronary mortality for women and 67% for men!

Dimitrios Trichopoulos, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the study said,

Taking a nap could turn out to be an important weapon in the fight against coronary mortality.

On a trip to rural Mexico a few years ago, I was surprised to see the shop owners close down their stores and the streets emptied after lunch for what I quickly realized was… siesta time; and apparently they aren’t the only ones. The practice is common throughout Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, many Hispanic countries, southern Italy and is quickly growing in popularity in the US and the UK.

Many major corporations including the Huffington Post, Google, Procter & Gamble, Facebook and the University of Michigan are providing sleep pods and nap rooms for staff to rejuvenate. Arianna Huffington, who is coming out with a book next year about the importance of sleep, is quoted as saying

a quick nap is the best thing we can do to recharge ourselves” and even credits sleep as being her #1 secret to success.

Studies in the relationship between sleep and performance have also proven short mid-day naps increase:

– Reaction time
– Learning retention
– Efficiency
– Creativity
– Judgment
– Vision
– Information processing
– Short-term memory
– Performance
– Motivation
– Vigilance
– Patience
– Productivity

Experts say even a short nap can go a long way in recharging the body. So how do you power through this task most effectively?

1.) Aim for 15-25 minutes. A too-long nap can cause you to go into deeper phases of sleep making it more difficult to wake and leaving you feeling groggy.

2.) Set an alarm. Give yourself the time and freedom to rest, assured you won’t oversleep. If you can’t fall asleep, meditate.

3.) Better to nap than to sleep in. Studies show the mid-day nap habit is more effective at rejuvenating the body than the same amount of time spent sleeping in.

4.) Be consistent. Regulating your circadian rhythm helps make the time spent in rest mode effective while not interfering with nighttime sleep.

5.) Get Comfortable. Get a blanket, turn down the lights and the air, whatever helps you to find the most restful position for your body and mind to quickly embrace this state of relaxation.

Remember, you’re not paid for your stamina, but your judgment, your creativity and productivity. Don’t let sleep deprivation ruin your health, relationships and output.

No need to feel guilty about that mid-day snooze! You’re in good company with these notorious nappers:

– Leonardo da Vinci
– Salvador Dali
– Napoleon Bonparte
– Thomas Edison
– Eleanor Roosevelt
– Gene Autry
– President John F. Kennedy
– John D. Rockefeller
– Winston Churchill
– Lyndon B. Johnson
– President Ronald Reagan

The power nap is a critical tool to staying healthy and productive. Thomas Edison naps on his desk.

Famous napper, Thomas Edison

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