THE BLOG

Have a Nap!

19/09/2014 12:31 BST | Updated 18/11/2014 10:59 GMT

Do you think taking a nap is for lazy people? Or for summer holidays under the sun? You couldn't be more wrong. Recent studies show that napping increases your ability to think, decreases the risk of dying from a heart attack and boosts your performance by 34%.

So now that you are back from your holidays and still experiencing some of that "waooh" feeling, what about experimenting to find a nap strategy that works for you to keep that feeling for longer?

Welcome to the world of napping! But not just any kind of nap will do of course. Business or family commitments will have to be taken into account! And, first, unless you work night shifts, a nap should always be taken between 1 and 3 pm. Let's explore our options.

The power nap

This is a classic. We have all heard about it but what is it exactly? Well, it should not last for more than 20 minutes. Otherwise, you will go into deep sleep and that is when you risk feeling a bit fuzzy afterwards. If you keep it to 20 minutes, it will boost your motor skills and alertness, helping you do a better job in the afternoon. If you are not sure you are going to wake up on your own after 20 minutes (it takes a little bit of practice), set up an alarm clock or ask someone to come and wake you up.

The flash nap

This lasts for only a few minutes, 5 maximum. So if your company does not have the luxury of a nap room, if you hate the idea of sleeping in the afternoon or you cannot hide below your desk, this could be what you need!

Sitting down, close your eyes, and imagine you are going to sleep, let your muscles relax. Focus on your feet on the floor maybe or on your breathing. Don't wait for too long but if you feel you could be falling asleep any minute, this is the signal for you to stop and go back to work. Stretch, yaw, rub your hands, open your eyes and off you go! The flash nap is quick, easy, and research shows it boosts your automatic memory. It is also the only nap that insomniacs can take without risking to have difficulties sleeping the following night.

A longer nap?

Now there are times when we are so tired, we could sleep for hours, at any time. Long naps are usually not recommended unless you are suffering from conditions such as an auto-immune disease, chronic fatigue, hypersensitivity or a terminal illness. It is then recommended to have a nap of one or two cycles, ie 1h30 to 3 hours, to compensate fatigue from the disease. Otherwise, stick to the flash nap of the power nap.

What are you waiting for? Give it a go and let me know how it felt!