What do Salvador Dali, Albert Einstein and Ludwig van Beethoven have in common? Besides the fact all three were brilliant in their respective fields, they all took regular power naps which provided them with new and unique insights. Additionally, many people feel short naps are the key to their success as it makes them more productive and more focussed during the day. Let’s take a page from their book, by having a refreshing nap now and then! In this article I’ll share with you the best tips on how to power nap.
How to power nap
Make preparations so you can relax
I don’t have to explain to you that urging a restless mind to sleep is nearly impossible. But if you make the right preparations before you lay down, your nap is more likely to succeed. So make sure you:
- Write down upcoming tasks in a todo list
- Put out the material/clothes/bag you need after your nap
- Put your phone on sleep/airplane mode
- Set your alarm (taking a short time to fall asleep into account)
- Make sure you get to rest your eyes in a safe and relaxing environment
Keep your nap short and refreshing
The power of a good nap lies in it’s duration. You’ll want to prevent yourself from sleeping too long, as it will make you wake up feeling more tired and groggy. The perfect power nap should take between 10 and 30 minutes*, and should preferably take place somewhere between 1 and 4 PM.
* Revolutionary artist Salvador Dali described how he liked his naps to last no longer than the moment he felt he would lose consciousness. By napping in a chair with a key in his hand – which he in turn would hold over a dinner plate – he would be immediately alarmed if he would drift into solid sleep: The sound of the key dropping into the piece of crockery would wake him instantly. A quarter of a second was all the time he needed to feel refreshed and awake.
Lower your expectations
You’re all ready to take your nap. You might even feel comfortably sleepy. But we have to be realistic here; sometimes sleep simply doesn’t come. This is why my final and best tip on how to power nap is, to accept the fact that your power nap might actually not involve any napping.
To take a short and refreshing nap during the day you’ll have to set your alarm to make sure you don’t sleep too long (unless you’re planning to use Dali’s key method, of course). The idea of time ticking away while trying to fall asleep might be enough to keep you awake*.
* Or your neighbor decides to start a complete home renovation just when you closed your eyes. Or a noisy truck keeps passing your house. Or your cat got just the munchies.
This is why it’s important to realize that resting with your eyes closed provides you with similar benefits of a power nap. And that practice makes perfect!
Do you take power naps? Do you have any tips to share?