Advertising
Advertising

What Is Power Nap And How To Do It For The Biggest Brain Benefits

What Is Power Nap And How To Do It For The Biggest Brain Benefits

People often de-value sleeping or napping. But believe it or not, nearly one-third of the human race are sleep-deprived.

At this point, maybe the importance of a power nap hasn’t strung a chord with you yet. Let me throw you some mind-blowing stats.

A power nap boosts alertness greatly.

From a groundbreaking NASA study in 1995,[1] researchers experimented the beneficial effects of napping on 747 pilots.

Each participant was allowed a 40-minute nap during the day, and “sleeping on average for 25.8 minutes (which is just about right)”. The nappers “demonstrated vigilance performance improvements from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses compared to the No-Rest Group.”[2]

What else does a power nap bring?

Apart from improving vigilance, there are more benefits to power naps.

It boosts memory. Research[3] has shown taking an afternoon nap can improve short-term in younger adults.

Advertising

It reduces mistakes. The NASA study has proven the pilots who took naps had better job performances. This goes for people working in the medical field and emergency situations.

It improves learning. A short nap provides wakefulness to the body and boost the ability to learn.

    Famous people nap too!

    The secret to success is often taking power naps. U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton, and political figures like Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher all napped back in the day.[4]

    How do you know you need to nap?

    Here are 6 major signs your body tells you to nap:

    You are constantly cranky. The sleepier you are, the more irritable you are. You are less capable to handle stress.

    Advertising

    You are always hungry. A study[5] has shown sleep deprivation results in decreased level of leptin, which is a hormone that inhibits hunger and regulates energy.

    You zone out easily. Without proper rest, it’s easy to let the Zs overrule what you are working on.

    Your eyes are puffy, your skin is blemished. A poor sleep upsets hormones, and leads to unusual breakouts.

    You have a bad immune system. The sleepier the body, the weaker it is.

    You are even immune to coffee. If coffee doesn’t help, you need to seriously regain your sleep.

    So, nap or coffee?

    9 out of 10 times, you will choose coffee.

    Advertising

    It is easily accessible, doesn’t take up much space, and immediately wakes you up. On the flip side, caffeine leads to a crash but napping doesn’t. Overall, napping has more advantages than coffee does, so how to nap effectively?

    Plan power naps into your daily routine.

    When you are experiencing fatigue or you know you are about to experience sleep loss, you should take a power nap to regain your energy. Mid-afternoon, around 2 or 3 p.m., is the best time to nap, because post-lunch sleepiness is about to hit you. Also, this time is least likely to affect your normal nighttime sleep schedule.

    Rest comfortably to optimize the power nap experience.

    It’s very important to find a relaxing place to nap. The best place is definitely your bedroom, but when you are not at home, a chair or a couch are also good. Make sure the place is not too cold or too warm, preferrably around 65°F or 18°C. Use earbuds and eye masks to block any sound or light that will potentially affect your sleep. Also, shut your phone and other distractions off to have the perfect nap.

    But don’t over-nap!

    Your power nap shouldn’t be longer than 30 minutes.

    Have you ever woken up feeling groggy? If yes, then you have probably over-napped. After the first 30 minutes of your sleep, your body will enter the “deep sleep” mode and develop sleep inertia when you wake up.

    And take power naps carefully, it may backfire on you.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are some people who shouldn’t take power naps.

    Advertising

    People who suffer with insomnia. People with temporary sleep issues should not take naps, because napping perpetuates a more fragmented sleep pattern and reduces nighttime sleeping drive.

    People with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing while sleeping, which causes the person to be constantly tired. Unfortunately, naps can’t fix that.

    Napping anywhere and everywhere is possible.

    At campuses, several schools have invested napping pods for students to nap. But if these pods aren’t available, take 20 to 30 minutes off or the gap between classes to regain energy and retain what you’ve learned.

    At workplaces, find a good quiet spot, like a meeting room or the lounging area to rest before heading back to your desk or cubicle.

    Everyone needs to sleep well.

    For more information, watch this TED talk of Arianna Huffington encouraging people (especially type-A women) to sleep well in order to achieve success.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

    More by this author

    Frank Yung

    Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

    Your Future Self Will Thank You For Starting To Do This For Only 10 Minutes Every Day 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price Finally, a Way to Avoid Jet Lag: The Jet Lag Calculator The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017 Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

    Trending in Productivity

    1 Don’t Think You’re a Creative Person? You Can Definitely Change That 2 11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation 3 15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success 4 10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus and Creativity 5 16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on October 14, 2018

    Don’t Think You’re a Creative Person? You Can Definitely Change That

    Don’t Think You’re a Creative Person? You Can Definitely Change That

    Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences?

    Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent, whereby only a special group of people are inherently creative–everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. But, this is far from the truth!

    So what is creativity?

    Everyone Can Be Creative!

    The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so?

    You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Creativity isn’t just about making art or ‘thinking out of the box’. Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems.

    So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.

    Advertising

    Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. You have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

    How Creativity Really Works

    Let me break another misconception about creativity — which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original.

    Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.

    From this perspective, you can see lots of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by certain styles of music, instruments and rhythms to write a new song.

    All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

    Creativity Needs an Intention

    Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state.

    Advertising

    Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question:

    “What problem are you trying to solve?”

    Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles.

    Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity.

    But to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain, Right and Left, which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too.

    This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison.

    Advertising

    For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus.

    And, when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

    Creativity is a Skill

    At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.

    A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test.

    A skill can also be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative!

    If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things.

    Advertising

    Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

    Start Connecting the Dots!

    Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.

    So if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, simply subscribe to our newsletter today. In it, you’ll find out how to make use of crucial skills that will push you towards a life transformation– one that you never thought possible. Your personal growth is our commitment.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Read Next