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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

How to Power Nap for Maximum Benefits

How to Power Nap for Maximum Benefits

Most mammals—nearly 85%—are polyphasic, which means they sleep multiple times during the day. However, humans are monophasic, which means we sleep just once a day. But due to modern lifestyles and increasing levels of stress, sleep deprivation is a common sight.

A good night’s sleep plays an important role in your overall health and well-being as it keeps the immune system in good shape and heals the body.[1] But if your sleep gets disturbed due to work schedules or any other reason, it’s recommended that you make up the loss through power naps.

A power nap is an afternoon nap lasting anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes can help reduce stress and offset the adverse effects caused by sleep deprivation. Power nap is a term coined by James Mass, a social psychologist at Cornell University. It can recharge and revitalize you fairly quickly.

Different Types of Power Naps

Power naps can be broadly classified into four types:

  • Planned napping: As the name suggests, this refers to a nap that you have planned in advance—for instance, when you know you’re going to have a long night in the office, you take a quick power nap during the day to see you through the night. This is also called preemptive napping.
  • Emergency napping: When you are extremely sleepy and struggle to keep your eyes open, the nap you need is called emergency napping. This kind of napping is especially useful when you feel sleepy while driving.
  • Habitual napping: When you nap at a scheduled time of the day regularly, it is called habitual napping.
  • Appetitive napping: When you nap just for the fun of it.

Different People, Different Duration

From an ultra-short power nap lasting as little as six minutes to a more elaborate 90-minute nap, individuals have a range of power naps to choose from.

The six-minute power nap is known to improve declarative memory—a type of long-term memory—which is useful when trying to recall facts and knowledge. According to Sara C Mednick, a sleep expert and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, 15 to 20 minutes of power napping can provide you with incredible benefits including alertness and superior motor performance.

A 20-minute power nap is considered ideal to boost the brain and stave off mid-day sleepiness. However, longer naps—ranging between 30 and 60 minutes—are known to benefit memory and decision-making skills.

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Napping for 60-90 minutes –also called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep revitalizes the brain connections and enhances creativity.

Benefits of Power Napping

It is believed that a power nap not only helps you feel energetic but it also boosts memory and cognitive skills. No wonder, a number of organizations and universities around the globe are creating napping areas for their employees and students.

Improve Brain Performance

Power naps are especially useful in alleviating sleep deficit and improving verbal memory, perceptual learning, math, reasoning, and response time. Besides, power naps reduce stress, help keep the mood upbeat and fight fatigue. Power naps are also known to help the cause of weight management.

Aware of the benefits of power naps, companies are increasingly creating sleep spaces, where employees can unwind and catch a quick siesta. As for employees, they are becoming more aware of the benefits of napping and increasingly dumping the use of caffeine or energy drinks to keep them going at the workplace.

In fact, a study conducted in 2008 reveals that power naps fare far better than coffee in improving motor skills, perceptual learning, and verbal memory.[2]

The researchers made the participants nap for 60 to 90 minutes during the period of study. The study revealed that

“afternoon naps improved free recall memory compared to the caffeine group after both 20 minutes and seven hour intervals, while resulting in improved learning on physical tasks than caffeine.”

The study goes on to say that caffeine impairs motor sequence learning and declarative verbal memory, that are boosted by power naps.

Boost Energy

Good nappers wake up energized and alert and usually, prefer power naps over caffeine to restore their energy. Although caffeine or other energy drinks are known to increase energy levels, they do not help with the cognitive skills.

A study conducted in 1995 by NASA evaluated the benefits of napping on 747 participating pilots.[3] Each pilot in the nappers group napped for 40 minutes during the day, with an average sleep time of 28.5 minutes. Compared with the non-nappers, this group “demonstrated vigilance performance improvements from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses.” Numerous subsequent studies have corroborated the findings of the NASA study that napping for just about the right duration increases alertness and productivity.

That said, not every individual needs a power nap to re-energize. It is important to understand why you need to nap. If you wish to take a nap only because you feel sleepy throughout the day, it may be an indication of stress, insomnia, or some other sleep disorder.

It completely depends on your genetic constitution whether you actually need a power nap or not. If you are not a good napper, you may actually wake up feeling worse because you may fall into a deep sleep during the nap.

Prevent Heart Diseases and Cancer

Yet another study conducted over a period of six years on nearly 24,000 healthy people (not suffering from coronary heart disease, stroke, or cancer) in 2007 in Greece revealed that all the participants who napped at least three times a week had a 37% lower chance of dying from a heart disease. This is because day-time power naps accelerate cardio-vascular recovery with a 45-minute nap helping lower the blood pressure—especially useful for people suffering from stress.

That’s not all, a letter published in the British Journal of Nutrition says power naps can help prevent obesity and weight maintenance.[4]

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Children Too Benefit from Napping

It is now well known that napping benefits people of all ages, but it is particularly beneficial for children. Generally, toddlers are biphasic—sleep twice a day. However, as they grow up, they become monophasic.

A study by Rebecca Spencer states that sleeping during the day is particularly effective in children as it helps boost their learning capabilities and enhances memory of the concepts learned earlier in the day.[5] She goes on to say that:

“distributed sleep is critical in early learning; when short-term memory stores are limited, memory consolidation must take place frequently.”

Therefore, children who do not take a nap during the day experience deficient performance that cannot be truly undone by night-time sleep alone. Nap-deprived children—aged between 1 and 3 years—often show poor problem solving skills and are more anxious.

Stigma

Although power naps are proved to bring numerous health benefits, until recently, it also had social stigmas associated with them.

Day-time nappers were often branded lazy with a lackadaisical attitude, and general sub-standard disposition. It was also believed that napping was the territory of children, elderly, and/or the sick. While numerous researches have been successful in busting these myths, there is still some level of education required about the benefits day-time power naps bring.

People who still feel power napping is a no-no, must know that Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy, and even Leonardo da Vinci were all nappers—and successful.

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How to Have a Great Power Nap

The objective of a power nap is to re-energize and wake up as quickly as possible to maximize your productivity. Therefore, as with any good thing, to get the best out of your power nap, there are certain do’s and don’ts:

  1. Try to fall asleep as quickly as possible. Shut out any distractions that prevent you from falling asleep quickly.
  2. Keep your phone on silent mode to avoid disturbance from phone calls or messages.
  3. It’s a good idea to keep the nap short and quick in order to avoid waking up groggy. Consider setting an alarm for anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes.
  4. Dim the lights of the room you choose to take your nap in. Light on the eyes makes it difficult to fall asleep quickly. Consider using an eye mask to cut off the light.
  5. Cut off the surrounding noise for a peaceful nap. Consider wearing noise-reduction headphone or plug in your earphones.
  6. Usually during a quick snooze, the body temperature falls. Keep a blanket or sheet handy to keep yourself warm.
  7. If you are napping in your office, consider using the Do Not Disturb sign to let colleagues know you are snoozing.
  8. Drink a cup of coffee before your power nap. The nap will leave you refreshed and the effect of caffeine will give you the energy to be more productive.
  9. Get up and get back to whatever you were doing quickly. Consider splashing some water on your face, a brisk walk to let your body know that the nap is over.
  10. Be consistent with you nap schedules. This means choosing the same time during the day for your power nap—ideal time for a power nap is usually between 1pm and 3pm.

Final Thoughts

As we may see, numerous studies have firmly established the numerous benefits power naps have to your health. But, it is also important to note that it may not always be possible for people to nap.

For instance, people accustomed to sleeping only on their bed face trouble napping in the office. And then there are people who wake up groggy and disoriented after a nap, which can adversely impact their productivity in the office.

A nap too long can leave you in a condition where you can’t sleep at night. So, it becomes critical to understand your need for a power nap and the ideal duration that re-energizes and revitalizes you. After all, the end objective is to rejuvenate yourself.

Happy napping!

More Tips About Sleep and Productivity

Featured photo credit: Katya Austin via unsplash.com

Reference

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Bijal Panchal

Brand Planning: Managing Sleep Diagnostic, Sleep Therapy & Reusable Mask Portfolio

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Published on April 16, 2021

Guided Meditation For Increased Energy: How And Why It Works

Guided Meditation For Increased Energy: How And Why It Works

Are daily stressors draining your vital energy levels? Do you know deep down that meditation could help you out, but on some level, you repeatedly tell yourself that you don’t have the time or know-how to meditate? If so, you could do with some help, and you’re going to get to know all about guided meditation for energy to sort you out.

By the end of this article, you will have the tools in your possession to get started and know all about the amazing benefits to start feeling like your best self.

Your Life Is Energy

If you didn’t know it already, everything in the universe around you is energy. Everything you are perceiving, feeling, touching, or tasting right now are all vibrations of energy at its core.

Life energy—or Prana as it is also referred to in yogic philosophy—is flowing through you at all times, keeping you alive. When this energy is in tune, it aligns your body, mind, and soul to work in harmony.

Unfortunately, growing up, most people aren’t taught or shown how to efficiently align these three elements. This can lead to energy leaks in your state of being.

Your daily stream of unconscious thoughts, for example, is one element that uses up a vital part of life’s crucial energy flowing through you. How much energy you deplete then really depends on what you’re thinking about most of the day.

Say you’re thinking positive thoughts. You won’t be very likely to want to resist such pleasantness. Your energy levels, therefore, would most likely stay well connected to the source of life supplying you.

Having said that, given the human mind’s negative bias and your natural tendency to avoid pain, most of what you think unconsciously will automatically be distorted towards negative thoughts, negative emotions, and stress. These negative states will cause you to resist the life energy flowing through you causing you to feel depleted.

Just like a dam, every time you engage and persist in negativity and negative emotions, you’re building on and strengthening the barrier blocking your life force from flowing freely. In fact, every time you engage in an anger burst, it can deplete your immune system for up to 5 hours.[1]

Many stress-related health issues nowadays often arise because of depleted and blocked energy levels and uncontrolled thought processes. Luckily, guided meditation can be a powerful tool to reverse all of that and even empower you towards significant lifestyle changes.

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What You Stand to Gain

Guided meditation for energy isn’t complicated to define. It’s the process of instilling a state of deep peace within yourself, all the while training your attention and awareness. This is generally done by following the guidance of a trained practitioner.

Just like any new appliance you purchase, you’re most likely going to have to glance at the instructions manual to get it running. Well, the same can apply to meditation.

Meditation isn’t at all a complex practice. However, if you’ve never tried it out before, a guide can help get you started by directing your stream of thoughts and focus. The guide will act as your instructions manual to help accustom you to your new meditation practice.

Guided meditation for energy has many outstanding benefits to your mental and physical well-being. In fact, adopting a regular guided meditation practice can give you the following benefits:

1. Still Your Mind

When was the last time you counted zero thoughts floating through your head? Wouldn’t it be great to reach such a point and enjoy moments of peace, deep relaxation, and silence regularly after a guided meditation session?

2. Sharper Focus and Cognitive Abilities

As you become more conscious, you’ll notice increased capabilities within yourself to act more often, rather than react to the circumstances in your life. This will also allow you to focus more on the solutions rather than on the problems in your environment.

3. Reduce Feelings of Anxiety and Depression

Given most anxious and depressive feelings arise out of cognitive distortions, a regular guided meditation practice for energy can help you get acquainted with your higher self—your soul.

From this place of consciousness, you will find it easier to sit peacefully above your thoughts, untouched by whatever commotion is going on down under. Through conscious awareness, you’ll also find it easier to reflect and rationalize on any limiting beliefs.

4. Lowers Your Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

As you relax your body and focus on deep relaxing breaths, you are activating the parasympathetic nervous system in your body. As you do so, this allows your heart rate to decrease and your blood pressure to drop as your blood vessels begin to open up.

5. Help Heal Health Issues

Yes, when given the chance, your body does have the ability to heal itself in certain circumstances. Life energy is also healing energy when you allow it to flow freely undisturbed throughout your being.[2]

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Guided meditation for energy allows your bodily processes to conserve and generate more energy for healing than they otherwise would be able to in a stressed-out and depleted state.

6. Help Create and Influence Your Desired Future

That’s right, the thoughts you are focusing on every day are highly influencing your reality. Remember that everything around you is energy and is also created out of energy! Therefore, your thoughts are nothing more than a frequency of energy!

Guided meditation will often require you to use positive mental imagery for visualization. As you become increasingly capable of visualizing and feeling positive emotions in the process, the emotional frequency vibrations you will begin to emit from within yourself will become much stronger. This higher energy frequency can then influence and attract more positive future circumstances in your life.

You can check out the Law of Attraction if you’re interested in knowing more on how to start visualizing actual life goals you wish to manifest in your own life.[3]

7. Improve Sleep Quality

Guided meditation for energy looks to hack into your deeper brain waves to instill a state of deep relaxation within you. The more relaxed you feel and the stiller your mind, then the easier you’ll find it to fall and remain asleep.

Even better, as your practice becomes a regular habit, you’ll notice you actually won’t need all that much sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new day—simply because as you live more from a state of ease, your body will need less rest to conserve its energy and operate efficiently.

8. Cultivate Gratitude and Compassion

Love, gratitude, and compassion for yourself are often hard to come by in today’s ego-driven and chaotic world. A regular guided meditation practice can help grow these positive emotions towards yourself and others. As you begin to transcend your ego, you won’t want to turn back once you’ve experienced a taster of selflessness and all the bundle of positive emotions it comes with.

9. Foster Spiritual Growth

All the above benefits are great, though this one is by far the most valuable. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, spirituality is all about connecting to the creating source of life—be it God, spirit, universe, energy, or whatever you believe created all the magnificence around us. Regular guided meditation sessions will deepen your connection with your spiritual self and can help make you feel more connected to the people and world around you.

In yogic philosophy, meditation is one of the tools of self-discovery to connect Atman with Brahman. This refers to the process of connecting an Individual soul with the eternal consciousness of the universe.

Through regular guided meditation, you can transcend the ego and come to realize that you and everything around you is one and connected! No words can best describe this realization. It really is an experience you must feel for yourself.

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The Guided Meditation Process

You might be wondering, what’s the guided meditation process like?

Well, guided meditation is often the required stepping stone you’ll take before you feel comfortable progressing towards unguided meditation. If you never wish to progress to unguided meditation, that’s absolutely fine, too. You can still perfectly achieve most—if not all—of the above benefits with the help of a guide.

First off make yourself comfortable and follow these steps:

1. Pick a Guided Meditation of Your Choice

Nowadays, there are many helpful guided meditations over the internet or through mobile applications. Many of these apps or websites offer you focused meditations on many specific objectives you’re after.

For example, if you’re suffering from stress or insomnia, you will find ample guided meditations of varying length durations to pick from on those specific subjects. You can check out YouTube or any meditation apps such as Headspace to get yourself started.

Now, it’s important that you choose a guide with a soothing and comfortable voice. After all, that voice will be the one guiding you to the deepest relaxation experience within yourself, and you want to ensure their voice makes you feel good.

2. Find a Comfortable Seated Position and Close Your Eyes

To meditate, you don’t necessarily have to sit cross-legged or chant any mantras. Simply, find yourself in a comfortable armchair or seated position, ensuring your back is upright.

Next, close your eyes and try placing your attention on your breath. Follow your breath in and out to begin grounding yourself in the present moment. After a few deep breaths, begin your guided meditation.

3. Focus on the Voice Guiding You and Attentively Follow Its Instructions

Your objective is to mindfully let your thoughts and emotions come and go without giving in to the urge to react to them. This is a challenging task to maintain even for many established meditators, let alone for beginners.

That’s where guided meditation comes in handy. The guide in the meditation will act as a positive distraction for you to place your focus and attention on. The process is often carried out through visualization instructions, all the while helping you anchor your focus on the rhythm of your breath.

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4. Go in With an Open Mind and Fully Surrender

You may come to realize that many guided meditation stories will often narrate fantasy stories not based on reality. That’s absolutely fine! Go with the flow. Your job is not to judge what does or doesn’t make sense in any narration. Your job is to fully surrender to the voice guiding you, and let it take you to the undiscovered parts of your mind and imagination.

Don’t worry about a thing, most guides are trained practitioners and know exactly what they’re doing to help you out.

5. Don’t Rush Back to Your Senses

Guided meditations for energy can take you into deep states of relaxation and imagination. You may feel detached from your bodily sensations in the process, and that’s a great thing to feel. Once your guide brings you back to your body, make sure to take a couple of moments to yourself before getting back to reality.

Takeaway

Once you experience the deeper dimensions of your consciousness and higher energy levels, you’ll find it hard to want to go back and remain in a depleted state of stress. So, why not treat yourself to the positive experiences of guided meditation for energy daily?

Just 15 minutes a day of guided meditation is more than enough to unlock all the amazing benefits listed above. The best times to schedule your new habit would be first thing in the morning upon awakening or right before bedtime.

Like most self-development tools, guided meditation is a lifelong process, so do not expect to notice all of the benefits at once. However, with patience and persistence in your practice, your life journey will take on a new positive direction and you won’t want to look back.

So, how about you get started right now?

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Featured photo credit: Erik Brolin via unsplash.com

Reference

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