Tips for refreshing afternoon naps (to increase your productivity)

old hairdresser sleeping at work

Recently I’ve started to wake up at 5am to get a head start to my day. I usually rise this early 4-6 times a week. I’ve found that I manage to accomplish a lot more when I wake up so early. Some days I begin the work day at 6am, other days I go for a run first. All in all, waking up at 5am is a real productivity booster.

The problem is that by lunch time, I’ve already been awake for 6-7 hours and I’m tired out. I need a nap to top off my batteries if I want to make it through the day. Afternoon naps FTW! And with all that  “practice”, I’ve developed a few tips to make make the most of my naps.

Most important tip: Naps should be 15-20 minutes long only, 30 minutes at most. Any longer and you’re more likely to be groggy the rest of the day.

Always set an alarm to wake you from your nap. If you’re worried you can’t wake up, place your alarm or phone out of reach. This way you have to get up and walk over to your alarm to turn it off.

I find that it’s easier to wake up from a nap on the couch than on the bed. I think it’s because I don’t lay flat on my back when napping on the couch.

If you don’t have a couch, lean your chair back. On the bed, prop your upper body up with pillows.

A common concern is that you don’t fall asleep immediately and will nap for less than the prescribed 15 minutes. I want to point out that it’s not the length of sleep time that matters. It’s 15 minutes of down time for your brain to rest.

This also means that you need to allow your brain to rest. Lay down and close your eyes. Breathe in and out slowly, deliberately. Clear your mind of the demands of the day. And relax, you be picking up where you left of a quick 15 minutes later.

Finally, don’t nap too late in the day if you want to wake up at 5am the next morning. I find that if I nap after 4pm, I won’t be able to fall asleep by 10-11pm. Personally, waking up at 5am is a bigger productivity booster for me than napping late in the afternoon.

And now that you’ve allowed your brain to rest, you’ll be able to work at full capacity for the rest of the day. Happy napping!

Do you have any tips on napping too? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Picture credit: epSos .de on Flickr

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