Napping is awesome and mostly undervalued in American culture. Thankfully, the trend is starting to change. Companies from Proctor and Gamble to Google have sleep pods in their offices for employees to reserve. Dropping out of life can pay back with interest. Harvard researchers found protective benefits from a quick 30 minute nap and showed a performance boost with a longer 60 minute doze. Berkeley researchers found taking a 90 minute nap through a full REM cycle actually improved learning. Use this post as an excuse to take advantage of this simple and effective technique.
If you’re prone to feeling exhausted after waking you can remedy that with a caffeine nap.

This is also great if you’re short on time. Research at Longborough University suggests ingesting caffeine and then slipping away for a little 15 minute doze has pronounced benefits. The study was done using a hefty dose of 200mg of caffeine, but you should really only use as much as you’re comfortable with. For reference, a cup of coffee usually only has between 100-200mg. You should wake up perky and ready to go.

You’ve got alternatives if stimulants don’t appeal to you and grogginess prevents you from napping. One option is to use Steve Pavlina’s technique of practicing getting up right away. He targets his advice towards waking in the morning, but in my experience it generalizes really well. You can develop a habit of waking up so quickly your body doesn’t have a chance to respond with much grogginess. To practice I hop into a bed, couch or chair and pretend to sleep for a couple minutes. I let my mind wander towards dream land. When the timer goes off I jump out of bed and get to work. It helps to write down your intention of what work you want to do before the practice session. Eventually I conditioned myself to respond to timer with motivation to get moving. My body doesn’t get bogged down with that intense longing for another 10 minutes of dozing if I use the technique consistently. I can take a power nap that’s actually a power nap.

Another choice is to visualize yourself waking up refreshed. Before getting into the nap, close your eyes, see yourself settling down, imagine the timer going off, feel yourself ready to work as you hear the timer’s noise and finish the visualization with the process of you getting down to whatever the most important task of the day is. Really see every tiny step of this process in your mind’s eye. Imagine pulling back the covers or falling down into the chair. See yourself in the third person asleep in complete relaxation. Try to trigger the emotions of excitement you want to feel at getting up. Then try to live out this exact process when you nap. It pays off as you reprogram your body to respond in the exact way you desire. Visualization is the key to reprogramming the mind. It works on a level that’s much deeper than words.

Respect your body when you’re feeling down. Sometimes sleeping really is the best thing to do. If you’ve got the time consider it as a first option.

Author's Bio: 

Orson Ramsey is a professional Internal Family Systems counselor. He graduated from Arizona State University with a masters in American History in 2005. After a transformational experience with Internal Family Systems he left his tenure track position at ASU to pursue helping people full time. He now lives in Marin County, CA with his lovely wife Cindy and their dog Cocoa. He continues to tutor gifted students in American history, using intense visualizations to assist in memorization.