Yesterday I talked about the benefits of naps for both health and general well being. Today I want to talk about the ideal nap; how to define and get the perfect nap. Here are some taps to make your nap pay off.

How Long to Nap

Your boss might not understand you curling up on your desk for a four hour nap during your eight hour workday. So you need some guidelines on how long to sleep to get the best bang for your sleeping buck.

  • Sleep experts seem to agree that a 10-20 minute “power nap” gives you energy and will make your work afternoon go smoother.
  • Need to remember facts, places and faces? Then you want the slow-wave sleep of a 60-minute nap. This is great to take before a big presentation to the board. The only downside is that groggy I want to go back to bed feeling.
  • If your job has a lot of procedures to remember or you need to be at your creative and/or motivational best then you want the full cycle of sleep of a 90-minute nap.
  • One additional tip is to sit slightly upright during your nap. This will keep you from dropping into a deep sleep. If you dream during your power naps that might be an indication that you’re sleep deprived. You might want to seek medical help just in case.

The Ideal Nap

Here are a few tips that will help make your napping experience pay off for both better health and your performance in the workplace.

  • Look for peace and quiet. Try to find a dark quiet place is possible. During a lunch hour this might not be easy but do your best. Use earplugs and a eye shade if necessary.
  • Calm Down: Yes there is a lot to get done when you get back to work. Try to shut that out and think of something not related to work or anything to make you anxious. Concentrate on relaxing your body one part at a time. With practice it’s possible to shut out the world.
  • A Caffeine Nap: Watch your caffeine in the morning but drink a cup right before your nap. Coffee takes about 20-30 minutes to kick in. Just about the time you’ll be waking up and give you that extra little kick.
  • Plan Your Naps: Just like other things naps can become a habit. Knowing that there is one in your immediate future can help you be more productive before the nap because you are getting more done. And the increased energy and creativity after makes you more productive and confident during the rest of your workday.
  • Don’t Forget The Alarm: Set your smart phone or keep an oven timer in your car or office to make sure you don’t oversleep.

Some Final Thoughts

For some of you reading this post the thought of sleeping on the job might feel a little uncomfortable. That’s a natural feeling you are going to have to get over. Why feel guilty about being better at your job. If a 20 class would help you in your job wouldn’t you sign up?

The time of day that you take your nap is also important. So here is a handy Interactive Nap Clock for you to determine the exact time of day for your nap to do the most good. Not sure about you but I’m getting a little sleepy.