10 must-haves for a refreshing power nap
Tips for getting a lil snooze in any environment.
Written by Sheila Frye
Voices - Advice
Young people share advice based on their experiences.
Although some people think napping reflects laziness, power naps can make you more productive. It can make you more alert, creative and refreshed. This is especially true if you’re among those working since morning and you probably feel fatigued and drained in the afternoon.
Fortunately, napping for 15 to 20 minutes could help you recover lost energy. But for a power nap to be effective, there are some items you need to have in your workspace. Here is a short list of things you’ll need for an effective power nap.
Napping for 20 minutes on a soft pillow can make you feel quite relaxed and reenergised. There are numerous pillows sold in the market, but a memory foam pillow would make you feel more relaxed and restful as it adjusts to your head’s shape.
Dark room/Eye mask
It’s rare to find someone who can sleep in a room with so much daylight. As such, having a dark environment is a necessity for those who want to take a short nap. If you have your own office with window blinds, you can easily use the blinds to darken the place. But if you work in a cubicle, you probably can’t turn off the lights in the office to make the room dark. To simulate darkness, use an eye shade or eye mask instead.
Napping is impossible in a place with numerous distractions. Chattering workmates, noisy keypads, ringing phones and heavy footsteps will simply waste the short time you have for a power nap. But if you can’t put a halt to these noises, you should use noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs. By wearing these, you would have a better chance to insulate yourself from the busy hustle and bustle of your office.
If your headset can’t handle the different commotions in your office, you won’t enjoy your power nap. To overcome the noisy backdrop, try using white noise. At first glance, you wouldn’t believe that noise can make you feel relaxed and rested. But what keeps people awake and irritable during sleep isn’t noise per se. It’s the inconsistency of sounds, such as chatting, footsteps and honking, which distracts people. In a nutshell, white noise comes out consistently across all frequencies. Examples of white noise include the sound of waves at the beach and wind blowing through trees. You could buy a white noise machine or simply download white noise apps or MP3 audio on a smartphone.
Do not disturb sign
Listening to white noise audio would become irrelevant if someone disturbs your nap. To prevent your officemates from disturbing you, make a note stating that you’re power napping for 15 to 20 minutes, and you would only accommodate them after your nap. Simply display the sign on the door of your office or somewhere beside your desk if you work in a cubicle.
A good nap wouldn’t be possible without a comfy chair or couch. If you have your own office with a couch, you should definitely spend your power naps on it. But ensure that it’s comfortable enough for your nap. If you work in a cubicle, a cosy chair would be enough. If it isn’t comfortable enough, buy a soft chair pad to cushion you while you nap.
If you schedule your power nap in the afternoon, eat a protein-rich meal for lunch. High protein food could fight acid reflux and promote sleep as well. Protein rich food such as lean chicken meat, hard-boiled eggs and cheese would help loosen you up and make you feel full.
Munching oatmeal for lunch with protein rich food can also make your power nap more effective. Because oatmeal contains sleep-promoting nutrients such as phosphorus, calcium and potassium, it can help you relax better while napping. But don’t mix a lot of sugar with your oatmeal as sweets will keep you awake.
For a power nap to be effective, it has to be around 20 minutes. If you nap beyond that period, you’ll experience sleep inertia. And that condition would make you feel fatigued and groggy. To keep your nap short, bring an alarm clock with you or use an alarm clock app on a smartphone.
Among the items in this list, coffee is probably a counterintuitive one. It contains caffeine which awakens anyone who drinks it. But the caffeine in coffee only kicks in 20 to 30 minutes after consumption. As such, you would feel more energised by the time you wake up. So as soon as you drink your cup of coffee, take a nap immediately. Also, drink only a cup as drinking more would be counterproductive.
Taking power naps at work can increase productivity and creativity as it makes employees feel more relaxed and revitalised. But napping for 15 to 20 minutes isn’t a simple endeavour. If you want to feel the full benefits of an effective power nap, you should have the ten mentioned items. These items would help you nap effectively without disturbance from your workmates or from other noises.
What do you think of these must haves for an effective nap? Feel free to share your thoughts.