I'm not going to lie - it took me awhile to decide whether to put this in the Work section or Lifestyle because in some ways "power napping" falls into both categories. It can totally make you more productive at work but it can also be something you implement into your everyday lifestyle. But not matter which way you want to utilize the "power nap" let me tell you how these 30 minute sessions have legitimately changed my life, given me more energy, and made me more productive for longer.
I wasn't always a fan of naps. I was a strict 8-10 hours of sleep kid. I even would forgo nap time in school for a chance to play on the old green and black screen computer. (man technology has really changed in 20 years)
But when I got to college things started to change. I was always exhausted, I never wanted to leave my bed, and I could never pull off those all-nighter's (unless they were anxiety induced which didn't really amount to great studying). But I was taking one of those required physical education classes when I saw a "Power Nap" day on the syllabus.
Now I'm not going to argue with a teacher when he says that the topic of the day is napping but if I had known that this was going to change my entire life - I would have brought him cookies!
He explained that if we are ever feeling a little rundown or tired, instead of going for a 2pm coffee we should lay down, relax, and set our timers for exactly 30 minutes (no more/no less)
If you let yourself go for more than 30 minutes you'll feel groggier and more tired than before you laid down. This window of time is basically letting your mind shut down and get a little bit of rest without going to REM which actually uses energy. Think of it as meditating. You're trying to clear your mind, focus on your breathing, and if you fall asleep a little that's totally normal!
Once you're alarm goes off you may have a 5-10 minute waking up period/wanting to sleep longer but fight through it. If you make it to the other side you'll feel rested and ready to tackle the rest of the day - full steam ahead.
I took his advice and implemented this tactic all through school and especially during my post-college, 4 part time job, 80 hour weeks, 30 minute nap in my car days. And it was the only way I would have made it through. I power napped so much I kept a blanket and pillow in my car (okay maybe I still do but it works)
If you ever follow my photography instagram - you'll see that I take power naps quite often. (I've even inspired several others to take a mid-day power nap) Sometimes I only get 15 minutes but that is enough to make me feel better. I have also been a victim of sleeping for 2 hours instead of 30 minutes and feeling way worse and throwing off my entire sleep cycle for the day. So make sure you stick to your alarm.
**Pro-Tip - if you really really need a boost, drink a coffee then take your 30. You'll be ready to go afterwards.
Now I don't recommend trying to overwork yourself and relying on the power nap to get you through - but it is a good way to get you going if you have a long day or know you're running low on energy.
Give it a try and let me know how it works for you! Would love to hear your results.