The Powerful Science Behind Napping
Every afternoon, you may experience a slump in your energy. You're sitting in your office and you find that it's hard to focus on the task before you and you're yawning continually. The afternoon is often the part of the day when you experience the most stress. The first half of the day is gone and the hours are winding down which means you're likely concerned that you won't be able to get everything done.
If you've got the feeling that taking a quick nap could help make the day a little better, you may be right -- according to science. Research indicates the taking short naps at work can make employee performance better, not worse. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google have included napping pods in their office buildings for employee use to ensure that workers are well-rested and able to perform well.
Here are some important things you should know about the science of napping and the benefits that come with taking midday rest.
Improved Performance and Cognition
Short naps help to recharge the brain and enhance your ability to perform cognitive tasks. You may find that you're able to think clearly after a nap since rest gives your mind time to refresh itself. Studies indicate that when you wake up from a nap, your memory will improve and your fine motor skills will be higher than before you napped.
A Boost In Your Mood
Overall fatigue and lack of sleep can create a negative cycle of feedback in your brain which can put you in a bad mood. When you're tired, your brain doesn't function as well. This means you may not be able to excel at cognitive skills and you'll have a hard time controlling your mood or filtering negative thoughts. Taking a short nap each day helps you balance your mood and provide the natural optimism you need to take on important tasks for the rest of the day.
Lower Stress Levels
The stress connected to the daily tasks you have to complete can intensify throughout the start of the day and into the afternoon as you run out of hours to finish everything on your to-do list. Taking a power nap can help your brain and body calm down so you'll feel renewed when you wake up. Resting also lowers metabolic measures like your blood pressure which can significant lower your stress levels.
How to Nap Successfully
Whether you're napping at the office with your boss' approval or relaxing in your own bed for a nap if you're working from home, it's important to keep some simple yet effective tips in mind for more restful napping.
-Have a little caffeine before your nap, but not after. If you nap for about half an our, the caffeine will be most effective as you're waking up.
-Create a comfortable napping area where noise and light are reduced. Try to nap in a spot where the air is cooler to calm lower your body temperature for more restful sleep. If you're napping at home, you should sleep in your favorite position for a more fulfilling nap.
-Keep your napes between 20 and 30 minutes. If you nap for longer than 90 minutes, you may feel groggy when you wake up.
-Time your naps to coordinate with your circadian rhythm. To maintain a regular sleep cycle, make sure you're finished napping by 2pm so you'll be ready for bed around 10pm and can get a good 6-8 hours of sleep to prepare you for the next day.
-Even if you're having a hard time taking a nap in the daytime due to your personal sleep schedule or the busyness of your work environment, take about 15 minutes to rest in a comfortable, dark spot. This can be a healthy alternative to napping that gives your brain a break and allows your body to rest.
Napping is an extremely power tool that you can add to your day to improve your concentration and make you more productive. By scheduling a nap into your daily routine, you may find that your stress levels are lower and you're able to handle all the important activities you have to complete throughout your workday.