A power nap is a short sleep designed to boost our energy levels.
But how can you be sure you’ll wake up afterwards?
Surely you’ll just drift off into a longer sleep or be woken by your timer, bleary eyed and worse than you started?
Make your power nap 30 minutes or less
Anything longer than 30 minutes is likely to put you into deep sleep which is more difficult to wake up from and means that you’ll almost certainly wake up more tired than when you started your power nap,
There are various ways that you can make sure you wake back up:
- Set a timer on your phone – it’s simple, you’ve almost certainly already got a countdown timer or alarm – but it can be a bit of a brutal way to return to being awake
- Get an app – as with near enough everything, there are power nap apps. Search your phone’s store and check the reviews
- Use a pre-recorded track. This is my favourite method as it is a pre-set duration, guides you into the process and the background noises help your brain to get into the power nap and back out of it at the intended times
Time your nap carefully
Too many carbohydrates at lunch time tend to make us sleepy in the afternoon.
If you’re not careful, the combination of a carb-laden sleep siesta and other circumstances will make your nap longer than intended.
This is one that needs practice and experimentation.
Too close to lunch and you may find that your planned 15 minutes (or whatever) turns into30 minutes or more and has a negative effect on you.
Clear your mind
Our minds have a habit of working overtime, especially when there’s something new to think about.
As with any new thing in your life, you probably won’t get your power nap right the first time.
Which gives your already over-active mind more things to think about.
Clearing your mind is one of those things that takes practice but it does get easier the more you do it.
Some people visualise their mind as being like a calculator and can clear it just by thinking about pressing the Clear key. If you can get to that stage, congratulations!
More often it’s just a matter of letting thoughts drift through – a bit like some people get accused of things going in one ear and out the other, except this time it’s a good idea.
Another neat trick that works especially well if you have nagging voices in your head is to change the tonality (a Mickey Mouse voice is a good one to use as he’s not easy to take seriously) and shift where the voices in your head are coming from. They’re your voices so you can do this. Try turning the volume down and shifting them further away. If you want to have real fun with them, put them in a catpult and fire them into the distance.
Gradually you’ll learn how to quiet your mind quicker.
It doesn’t matter if the first few times you’ve allocated for a power nap are almost completely spent getting your mind to calm down. You will get better with more practice.
Remember the basics
If you’re not using your phone as a timer, turn it to silent.
Find somewhere comfortable and where people won’t interrupt you whilst you’re napping.
If you’re able to adjust the darkness, do so. If you’re not, wear sunglasses or a sleep mask.
If you normally drink caffeinated drinks, have one just before your power nap. It takes a while for the caffeine to kick in so it will help you come back from your nap on time.
Don’t try to force yourself to sleep
That can be frustrating to say the least.
Just go with the flow.
If you can’t sleep, just use the time to relax – maybe meditate, maybe play some soothing music (choose a track of the right duration), maybe use a pre-recorded power nap MP3.
Keep at it – you’ll get better over time.