Advertising

Last Updated on December 17, 2020

A 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

Advertising
A 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

Everyone experiences tiredness at work sometimes. At some point (usually around 2:00 PM), you find yourself ready for a nap. Your energy fluctuates naturally throughout the day.

Productivity expert Chris Bailey charted his motivation, focus, and energy levels for 21 days and found that all three tend to spike between 7:00 and 8:00 AM, 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM, and 6:00 and 7:00 PM.[1] For all those highs, he also noticed times when focus, energy, and motivation were nowhere to be found. Chris was tired at work.

Your peak productivity times may be different than Mr. Bailey’s, but the overall shape of your energetic graph would still look like a series of zigzags. The amount of sleep you have, the food you eat, and how you exercise are a few of the factors that cause rises and falls in your energy level.

You’re battling your biology when you don’t take a nap

We can fill up on caffeine and sugar as much as we want, but we’re fighting a natural downturn in energy when we do this. Most people feel fatigued in the latter half of the standard workday. Your tiredness may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s really your body telling you that it needs rest.

Advertising

Our bodies operate on a natural clock called a circadian rhythm.[2] This sleep/wake cycle is perfectly adapted to give us adequate sleep over the course of a 24-hour period. Natural light is the primary means that your body uses to assess whether or not you should be asleep.

Much to our collective chagrin, circadian rhythms do not coincide with the average 9 to 5 job. Irregular sleep schedules, the light from electronic devices, and natural light exposure can also affect the cycle. This is why people working the graveyard shift have an increased risk for developing health problems.[3] They must remain awake when their body tells them it’s time for bed, and their sleep schedule is constantly disrupted when they try to stay awake on days off.

Neglecting to follow your circadian rhythms and not taking a nap go against your body’s natural balance.

Taking a nap is natural

We usually feel the most tired between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. This is the post-lunch crash that most of us try to fend off with sugary snacks or espressos. We’re also naturally more inclined to sleep between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM, which is why waking someone up during that time can feel like raising the dead.

Advertising

Since most of us are already asleep between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM, we need only concern ourselves with the post-lunch crash. Taking a nap right after lunch helps most people feel more alert, energized, and motivated.

Why you should squeeze a nap into your day

Taking a nap can replenish your brainpower and leave you feeling just as sharp as you were first thing in the morning. You can’t change the fact that your body operates on a circadian rhythm and your energy level rises and falls, but you can pay attention to what your body tells you to do. If you want to feel energized, you need to recharge.

When you don’t take a nap, you struggle against your body’s need for sleep. You may look busy while you’re sitting at your desk, but the simplest tasks will take you much longer to complete. You’ll have a harder time making decisions, and you’ll likely feel a bit grumpy.

Taking a nap may put you out of commission for 20 minutes, but you’ll be refreshed when you wake up. You’ll be able to do more work in a shorter amount of time, and you’ll probably have a better outlook on the rest of your day. That nap is the reset button that you need to do your best work.

Advertising

You can reap amazing benefits from taking a 15-20 minute nap.[4] Longer naps put you into different phases of your sleep cycle, and if those are disrupted, you might end up feeling more tired. A nap of 20 minutes is all you need.

The catnap is a low-cost energy booster. It requires so little energy and effort to give yourself this time to refuel, and the return on investment is huge. Some studies suggest that a 20-minute nap has the energy-boosting equivalent of more than 200 mg of caffeine, or two cups of regular coffee (minus the jitters). A power-nap has the potential to add an extra three hours of productivity to your day.

My napping experience at work for the last 2 weeks

Just to be clear, I’m not advocating that you bring your sleeping bag and grab a little shuteye anytime you feel lethargic. That’s definitely not going to go over well with your boss. You won’t be napping the entire afternoon away on the clock. You just need to take a 20 minute break after lunch to do what I’ve been doing.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been taking 20-minute naps in my office after lunch. I silence my email notifications and set an alarm so that I wake up at the end of the 20-minute window. I put in my ear buds and listen to this relaxing playlist. I rest on the couch with a small cushion that I keep stashed in my desk.

Advertising

At first it felt weird to be taking a nap at the office. It took me about 5 minutes to fall asleep the first few days because I wasn’t used to unplugging in the middle of the day. After a few days, though, I was able to fall asleep soon after I started listening to the relaxing playlist.

Within the first few days of conducting this little experiment on myself, I felt a big difference. After I woke up from my naps, I felt so much more energized. I could concentrate, and I was able to work all the way up until the end of the day instead of watching the clock in anticipation of closing time.

After just one week, I found that my productivity had dramatically improved. I used to feel so inefficient after lunch, but when I implemented the short post-lunch nap, I felt as energetic as I do in the morning. My energy seems to be more evenly distributed throughout the day, and I can be productive for longer.

Give power-napping a try

It may seem counterproductive to take a nap in order to do more, but there’s science behind the catnap. Instead of staring off into space and battling your natural fatigue, take a nap. You may think that you’ll lose 20 minutes of work, but the increased energy and focus you experience after your nap will more than make up for it.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

Reference

More by this author

Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

10 Best Coffee Makers that Make Amazing Coffee Anywhere at Any Time 100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier I’m Feeling Bored: 10 Ways to Conquer Boredom (and Busyness) How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples) Dismissing Sadness Will End up Making You Sadder

Trending in Restore Energy

1 The Importance of a Healthy And Balanced Diet for Energy 2 7 Daily Stress-Management Rituals that Improve Your Productivity 3 7 Reasons Why Your Body Feels Heavy And Tired 4 Why Do I Feel Tired After Eating? (And How to Avoid It) 5 The Real Reason Why You Feel Exhausted (No Matter How Much You Sleep)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 18, 2021

The Importance of a Healthy And Balanced Diet for Energy

Advertising
The Importance of a Healthy And Balanced Diet for Energy

Do you feel like you lack energy? Maybe you should start looking into what you eat. A healthy and balanced diet is crucial for everything in our lives. But oftentimes, people get consumed into the marketing of special “supplements,” energy drinks, powders, pills, and the list goes on and on. This happens to the point that we forget to go back to the basics—having a healthy and balanced diet.

Eating healthy is not about doing cleanses, starving ourselves, or even restricting food groups. It is not even about “dieting.” If all this sounds familiar—yet shocking—to you, it’s probably because you may need to start making some changes to your eating lifestyle. A healthy and balanced diet is the solution to more than 90% of health problems, especially energy-related ones.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet for energy.

1. A Healthy and Balanced Diet Is Key to Boosting Your Metabolism

When you eat healthily, you’re nourishing your body with everything it needs. Your metabolism depends on all the necessary nutrients to be efficient. We all need enough amounts of protein, healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water. Without any of these elements, your body would not perform well. Whether you want to lose body fat or build muscle, you need to have a healthy and balanced diet.

Advertising

2. It Helps Improve Your Memory and Productivity

Studies show that when you have a healthy and balanced diet, your brain works better.[1] This is because you’re feeding your body with all the right nutrients including omega-3, which enhance memory and productivity. When you feel tired, especially at work or even after eating, it’s most likely because you’ve not been eating well or eating too much over-processed food. Eating healthily will also boost your creativity and make your ideas flow better.

3. It Helps You Have a Healthy Weight

This seems like a no-brainer, but again, common “dieting” trends have made people obsessed with extremes to achieve a healthy weight. You don’t have to do any “fad diets” to lose weight.[2] There’s no need to break the bank to eat healthily or even spend on expensive supplements. If you want to get a healthy weight, all you need to do is learn how to eat in a balanced, healthy way. Eat more whole foods from all food groups, and stay away from refined, overprocessed foods.

4. It Can Help With Your Fitness Goals

If you’ve been trying to get fit, get toned, and lose some body fat but keep struggling, take a closer look at your diet. Remember that fitness results are based on 80% healthy nutrition and 20% exercise.[3] When you eat healthily, your energy levels increase and so does your whole body composition. The first thing you need to focus on—before your weight—is improving your energy and metabolism, and the best way to achieve these is with balanced nutrition.

5. It Helps Improve Your Immune System

The thing about having more energy as your diet improves is that it directly affects your immune system as well. When you eat healthier food, you start feeling more energized and getting sick less often. Personally, I’ve experienced more wellness, and I hardly ever get sick. This includes the infamous flu. One of the best things is seeing how your body changes and that you don’t have to depend on medications or shots to stay healthy. If you’re looking to improve your immune system naturally, many foods can help boost your immune system.[4]

Advertising

6. It Can Help Save You From Unhealthy Food Cravings

Having a healthy and balanced diet helps reduce food cravings, especially sugar. Eating in a balanced way means that you’re including enough protein and fiber at each meal. Increasing protein in your diet is important not only to increase your energy and boost your metabolism but also to control cravings. Protein is actually the most satiating nutrient, besides fiber.[5] Having healthy fat foods like oils, nuts, seeds, and fruits like avocado will also help keep your blood sugar in check, reduce cravings and increase your energy.[6]

7. It Will Help You Save Money

If you have been spending tons of money on energy drinks to stack up for the day yet still feel awkward, then it’s time to change your eating habits. When you eat in a balanced way that embraces all food groups (AKA colorful plate), then your energy levels will increase. You won’t need to keep buying any more energy drinks or rely on coffee to boost your vitality. Always start with a great breakfast. Starting your day with a balanced meal is the best way to fuel up your body with all the energy you need. Quality whole foods are less expensive than investing in energy drinks and caffeine. By doing this simple change, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your budget.

8. It Can Help You Have Better Mood

Have you noticed how you have constant mood swings when your diet is full of junk food? Well, this has to do with the lack of essential nutrients and the excess of sugar, sodium, saturated fats, and additives. All these substances, especially refined sugars, cause your body to have constant energy crashes.[7] This is the reason why you often feel miserable and tired throughout the day. Start with an easy change, such as including more fruits and veggies, even in your snacks.

9. More Energy Means Better Workout Performance

When you’re heading to the gym, the first thing you usually think about to boost your energy is getting that supplement, those amino acids, or pre-workout shake mix. This is not altogether bad, but did you know that the quality of your diet throughout the day matters more than what you take during workouts? Yes, it’s the foods that we eat during the entire day that will make a huge difference. Therefore, instead of putting all the emphasis on your pre and post-workout snacks only, focus on eating quality meals throughout the day.

Advertising

Also, don’t rely on workouts to increase your energy. Remember that exercise is only a component of the whole package, so eat healthier meals, and train according to your goals. When you eat right, your energy levels will increase, which means that you won’t feel unnecessarily exhausted after working out.

10. It Can Help Enhance Your Sex Drive

Sexual health is often overlooked when touching on this topic about eating healthy. But besides the common myths and noise about the aphrodisiac foods that can improve your sex life, a healthy and balanced diet can actually impact your sex drive.[8] A healthier diet leads to a healthier body, thus more vitality to perform well in bed. So, if you need to spark up your energy during sex, start by making healthier food choices overall.

11. It Helps Improve Your Digestion

When your energy increases through balanced eating, it directly impacts your digestion as well. Having a healthy metabolism also helps in digesting and absorbing the nutrients from foods. You can see the difference in how you feel after eating. Notice if you constantly feel bloated, have constipation, and even indigestion. When you eat more healthily, you’ll see a change in your gut health for good. A lot of energy problems are related to a poor digestive system. Good fiber foods like fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, and whole-grain cereals will help improve your digestion and give you more energy.

12. It Helps Protect You From Chronic Diseases

Reducing the risk of suffering from chronic diseases has been by far the biggest benefit of having a healthy and balanced diet. Simple wins, such as not relying on medications to feel well, not having to check in with the doctors regularly because of symptoms, or even saving on medical bills is what I call prevention. This is what I call quality of life.

Advertising

When you feel more energized because of a healthy and balanced diet, you are at less risk of suffering from chronic diseases. Problems like heart blood pressure, diabetes, gut issues, obesity, and even cancer are very common. The truth is that something as simple as having a healthier diet can help you avoid most of these problems. Therefore, a healthy and balanced diet for energy should be one of your top priorities if you want to stay away from chronic health issues and doctors.

Final Thoughts

A healthy and balanced diet can improve your life overall, not only your energy. You can have a better quality of life by simply including more whole foods rather than processed. Also, eating enough amounts of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and staying hydrated each meal will keep you energized and improve your mental health.

Quality nutrition is key, as lack of energy is often linked to stress, poor sleep patterns, and anxiety and metabolic dysfunctions. Make sure you include a variety of foods in your diet, and your life will change for the better!

More Tips on Leading a Healthy And Balanced Diet

Featured photo credit: Pablo Merchán Montes via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

Read Next