A good night’s sleep is a good start for a day of high productivity. But even with a good night’s sleep you may have moments throughout the day when you slow down, feel tired, and experience a drain in energy. Whether these times are the afternoon slump or a result of a few hours of intense concentration on a task, a nap is often the best thing to get you on track with getting things done. And a nap can be the beginning of maximizing your productivity, resulting in getting more things done.
It may sound counter-intuitive to take time away from tasks and projects to sleep. But research has shown that adults can benefit from a 10-30 minute nap during the day. The benefit is that you are as alert as you were that morning after a good night’s sleep.
Look at it this way: you spend energy getting things done throughout the day. If you manage your energy poorly, you will find yourself making mistakes, forgetting things, and being unable to focus. When you manage your energy well, you get more done, and the results are much better because you are focused and can do your best work.
Add Naps to Your Daily Plan
Schedule a short nap on your calendar. If you are new to taking naps, it may work best for you to schedule 15 minutes of quiet time during the afternoon. Try your first couple of times at 1 pm and see how that works. You may feel even better if you do it at 2 pm. The time of day will be up to you. The important thing is to schedule that time on your calendar.
Where to Nap
The next thing is to find a quiet place to nap. If you work at home, it is a better idea to nap on the couch or recliner than on the bed. The bed is for bedtime and trying to use it for naps could disrupt your bedtime routine, or it could be that you are unable to actually nap! So, if you are at home make use of a place where you can lay down for 15 minutes. If you are at work then you could go to your car. If you are on the road, you could find a shady spot to park. Where you nap is not as important as the fact that you are napping.
How Long to Nap
Sleep happens in four stages. The nap time area is in the second stage, between 10 and 30 minutes of sleep. Anything less and you won’t enter the second stage of sleep, which relaxes the body and leads to memory consolidation. Going beyond 30 minutes can push you into the third stage of sleep, which will leave you groggy when you wake up. For your first time, if you are able to sleep for 15 minutes you should feel rested and alert upon awakening.
The important thing to remember is that you want to maximize your productivity without burning out and experiencing overload or overwhelm. Take advantage of a 10-30 minute nap to keep your energy levels up and productivity high so that you can get more things done.
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