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Napping as a Productivity Tool

May 29th, 2013 · No Comments

Is there such a thing as a “power nap,” or is sleeping the day away a sign that you are lazy or unmotivated?

As a time management and productivity trainer, I think it’s an incredibly interesting question. That’s because, although naps have traditionally gotten a bad rap in our goal-driven society, there are a lot of reasons to think that napping is actually a great habit. In fact, it may decrease your stress while increasing your productivity, alertness, and creativity all at the same time.

There are a few important details behind this understanding. For one, most of us just don’t get enough sleep during the night – and even if we lie in bed for the requisite eight hours, the quality of our sleep might not be sufficient to leave us rested. Add in the fact that we often rush our way through unhealthy lunches that don’t properly fuel us, and it’s easy to see why a little extra rest can help. Plus, numerous studies suggest that napping is actually natural, and something that healthy humans have been doing for thousands of years.

Many companies now accept this as a productivity tool.  If you are in a position where you can consider this, how do you turn napping into a healthy and productive habit? Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Take a short nap in the afternoon. The afternoon is when most people have their lowest natural energy levels. A good 20-30 minute rest should do it; anything longer, and you might wake up feeling groggy.

Remove light, sound, and distractions. You want a dark, cool, and quiet place to take a nap. If that isn’t available in your office, try using a sleep mask and/or noise-canceling headphones.

Lie down, shut your eyes, and forget. At first, you might find that it’s hard to relax with nagging concerns about work projects and other thoughts filling your mind. Practice shutting them out and simply relaxing – the things you’re thinking about will still be there when you wake up.

Set the alarm. If you’re having trouble waking up from your nap, get more sleep at night. Otherwise, set an alarm to ensure that you don’t go over your 20- or 30-minute limit.

Skip that third cup of coffee. Napping, like all forms of sleep, is easier if you don’t have too much sugar or caffeine in your system. Adjust your diet and habits accordingly.

Over time, taking quick naps in the afternoon can become a habit that’s not just great for your work, but also for your health, creativity, and stress level.

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Tags: Office Productivity · Personal Productivity

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