Posted by: arosenbusch | June 30, 2009

How To Take a Nap

Cat Nap

Image via Flickr by Daveybot

Most people are mildly sleep-deprived. Taking a short and effective nap can be helpful to perform certain tasks afterward, plus it feels good.

Some awaken after only few minutes of sleep feeling deeply refreshed while others feel even more exhausted after a siesta. The happy news: There are techniques to get from the second group into the first.

Be aware that 25 minutes are often enough for a good power nap. This is how to do it:

Proper preparation

  • have a glass (or bottle) of drinking water close to your bed
  • have a reason to get up again
  • put all your worries aside (maybe on contextual lists?)
  • take off anything that feels uncomfortable
  • have warm hands and warm feet
  • make sure you are not interrupted – tell everyone that your sleep is holy and what you’ll do to them should they disturb it
  • feel free to drink coffee right before you take the nap, but try to avoid caffeine 1-5 hours before…
  • set an alarm to 25 minutes (or other timings, if you personally find those more effective).

Falling asleep quickly

  • darken the room
  • don’t worry about falling asleep. If you just lie there relaxing for 25 minutes without falling asleep, that’s totally fine.
  • if you drift away and have dream-like fantasies, lose yourself in these
  • if any thought intrudes on you and bothers you, do not chase it away. Ask: “what is this thing? Why does it want my attention?” Consider writing it down.

Getting up with ease

This is the part that most ineffective nappers have problems with.

  • turn the lights on and instantly drink the glass of water
    …that was a great first step, you need to follow up with the next step:
  • remember why you need to get up and why it is still important
  • get out of bed right away. don’t ever hit that “snooze another 5 minutes” button
  • if you need to get your circulation going:  pull your knees up to your chest and then straighten your legs twice – that should be enough

As an experienced power napper you will start waking up a minute before your alarm even sounds. Get up then – napping becomes even more effective if you let your system decide on the exact timings rather than relying on a clock.

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