(this article will teach you the right way to take a nap at office or anywhere for that matter to improve cognitive performance and boost mental and physical health.
Naps are seen as a mark of shame and sloth but after reading some amazing facts about naps in this article you will be forced to think again)
We sometimes intentionally, most times inadvertently take naps. But when we wake up, we usually feel woozy, wobbly, and befuddled- shrouded in a haze of grogginess and enveloped in a larger cloud of shame.
To most of us, naps are less an element of self-care than a source of self-loathing. They are a sign of personal failure and moral weakness.
But naps when done right, can be a shrewd response to the trough and a valuable break. Naps, research shows, confer two key benefits: They improve cognitive performance and they boost mental and physical health.
Few case studies (based on researches as mentioned in the book:
- Pilots who napped for up to 40 minutes subsequently showed a 34% improvement in reaction time and a twofold increase in alertness.
- In another experiment, nappers were twice as likely to solve a complex problem than people who hadn’t napped or who had spent time in other activities.
The correct way to take a nap (concept of sleep inertia):
Yet even after absorbing this evidence, we can remain nap skeptic.
One reason is that when we wake up from a nap, we generally feel as if someone has injected our bloodstreams with oatmeal and replaced our brains with oily rags.
An Australian study published in a journal sleep found that:
- Five-minute naps did little to reduce fatigue, increase vigour, or sharpen thinking.
- But ten-minute nap had positive effects that lasted nearly 3 hours.
- Slightly longer naps were also effective. But once the nap lasted beyond about the twenty-minute mark, our body and brain began to pay a price. That price is known as “sleep inertia” – the confused boggy feeling we typically have upon waking – all that time spent splashing water on our face, shaking upper body, searching desk drawers/fridge for something to eat to get some sugar into the system – subtracts from the naps’ benefits, as this chart makes it clear.
With brief ten to twenty-minute naps, the effect on cognitive functioning is positive from the moment of awakening. But with slightly longer snoozes, the napper begins in a negative territory – that’s sleep inertia – and must dig himself out. And with naps of more than an hour, cognitive functioning drops for even longer before it reaches a pre-nap stage and eventually turns positive.
In general, concludes one analysis of about 20 years of napping research, healthy adults “should ideally nap for approximately 10 to 20 minutes”. Such brief naps “are ideal for workplace settings where performance immediately upon awakening is usually required”.
NAPPUCCINO: (the power nap hack)
In an experiment 3 groups were given a thirty minute mid-afternoon break before sitting them at a driving simulator.
First group was given a placebo pill. Second group was given 200 mg of caffeine. Third received the same 200 mg of caffeine and then took a brief nap. When it came time to perform , the caffeine only group outperformed the placebo group. But the group that ingested caffeine and then had a nap easily bested them both.
Since caffeine takes about 25 minutes to enter the bloodstream, they were getting a secondary boost from the drug by the time their naps were ending.
Other researchers have found the same results – that caffeine, usually in the form of coffee, followed by a nap of 10 to 20 minutes, is the ideal technique for staving off sleepiness and increasing performance.
This coffee-then-nap combination rightfully called (by the author of the book) as the “NAPPUCCINO.”
Time to take a nappuccino 😉.
(Interested in learning many more of such scientific time hacks, go on and order “WHEN by Daniel H. Pink” and read the full book).