Advertising
Advertising

How to Start Napping…and Why You Should

How to Start Napping…and Why You Should


    Before you read the title and get angry, touting the same ol’ “I’m too busy!” argument, hear me out:

    You can save time, energy, and get way more done by taking naps.

    Advertising

    I know you’re in denial, but it’s true. I’ve used these techniques myself in the midst of a full-time marketing job, a part-time church job, trying to write a book, run two websites, and get married–and sometimes napping was the only way I would have been able to stay as productive as I was.

    But take it from actual research: Jurgen Aschoff was a German physician, biologist, and behavioral physiologist, and he ran a remarkable experiment in the first half of last century. Aschoff placed men and women, individually, into converted World-War II bunkers that blocked out all daylight. The subjects were placed in these isolation rooms for days at a time, without access to any time-keeping devices.

    After a 48-hour adjustment period, Aschoff found that all of the subjects had one strange, miraculous thing in common: they each became biphasic, meaning they slept for about six or seven hours at a time, then had a period of wakefulness, then went back to sleep for another “nap,” this time shorter than the first.

    Advertising

    They were falling back into the natural state of biphasic sleep cycles, adhered to by much of the animal kingdom.

    For those of us with “real lives,” however, we don’t have the luxury of experimentation. Rest assured, though, I’ve done the work for you! Here’s a brief outline of the best things I’ve found about adopting a napping schedule:

    Give it a shot. Before you do, though, know that napping takes practice — it won’t just come to you immediately, but once you figure it out, you’ll be able to almost “nap on command,” allowing yourself the luxury of grabbing a quick (5 to 10 minutes) snooze while at work, at home, or in traffic (just kidding!).

    Advertising

    So, how do you do it? How do you get to a state of zen in your daily life by using the power of the nap?

    First, you’ll need to figure out when to nap. Dr. Sara Mednick, who wrote the great book Take a Nap: Change Your Life, has this to say about the different sleep cycles we partake in during our sleep hours:

    1. Stage 1 – This stage is least understood, and we spend the least amount of time in it. Stage 1 sleep is the first few minutes of “pseudo sleep,” where our minds aren’t really awake and our eyelids are pressuring us to give in.
    2. Stage 2 – Stage 2 is the foundation of sleep—it’s the stage we spend more than half of our sleep time in, and it’s the stage that helps to “reset” our brain to be more alert when we wake up.
    3. Stage 3 & 4 – We can lump these stages together because they represent what’s known as “slow-wave sleep,” which is the process during which our body and brain “rebuilds” and rejuvenates.
    4. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) – Perhaps the most popular and well-known sleep phase, REM sleep is the time of sleep that most resembles our waking state. As such, we are most likely to dream those wildly fantastical dreams during REM sleep, and it’s the stage that helps us improve our creativity as well.

    The different stages of sleep are also available at different times throughout the day and night — and in differing amounts:

    Advertising

    • REM sleep is mostly available to us very early in the day, starting at 4 am and reaching its peak around 8-10 am.
    • Slow-Wave sleep depends on when we go to bed and wake up, but generally it can be reached mostly right after we go to bed, and then again a few hours before bed.
    • Stage 2 sleep we can enter at any time—it’s most accessible, so it’s there for taking, whenever we fall asleep.

    How to use naps to your benefit

    You simply need to then piece together your preferred nap: Do you need more energy? Try a late-morning nap or early-evening. Do you want to be more focused for that big project you’ve been working on? Fit in a nap built mostly on Stage 2 sleep, pretty much anytime you want (since you’re automatically in Stage 2 sleep most of the time, anyway). And finally, do you want to boost your creativity? Then try to grab a quick nap shortly after breakfast, when you’re most likely to be able to benefit from REM sleep.

    That’s it! Give it a shot, and leave a comment below with your thoughts. Once you try it you’ll realize that it’s not hard to do and you don’t need pills to do it. But it does, of course, take practice.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Relaxing via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    How to Maintain a Blog AND a Full-Time Job How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive Why I Write Using a Minimal Text Editor Why You Should Be a Writer The Amazing Secret Behind All Habits

    Trending in Productivity

    1The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Skyrockets Your Success 2How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster 3How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide) 424 Best Habit Tracking Apps (2018 Updated) 5What Highly Successful People Do Every Day To Perform At Their Best

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on August 20, 2018

    The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Skyrockets Your Success

    The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Skyrockets Your Success

    No matter how you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day. Time is a finite resource, and it’s up to you to make the most of it.

    If you lose money, you might get a chance to make it back; but a wasted hour is irreplaceable.

    While we can’t add hours to our day, I can help you understand the importance of time management, and how time management helps you maximize the time you do have. This isn’t just a skill for entrepreneurs to master. Everyone could benefit from managing their time more effectively and appreciating it for the finite resource that it is.

    The importance of time management

    The importance of time management comes down to how much it impacts your personal and professional life. Time management is organizing your day so that you find the best use for every moment.

    Excellent time management allows you to create a healthy balance in your workflow and home life.[1] The consequences of failed time management include missing deadlines and living with excessive stress.

    Even if you’ve failed to manage your time in the past, it’s never too late to change. Set deadlines, get organized, delegate tasks, and prioritize your to-do list to get the most value from your time.

    Advertising

    Why time management matters to you

    With the right time management skills and tools, you will experience a lot of benefits from good time management. Here are 8 reasons why you should start to manage time better:

    1. Do more with less

    Knowing how to manage your time means that you’ll be able to accomplish more in shorter periods of time with less effort. Think about how much more you accomplish when you truly focus.

    Prioritizing and matching tasks to blocks of available time is one way to do more with less effort. Instead of trying to do deep work in the ten minutes between meetings, complete a minor task. This frees up larger blocks for projects that require concentration.

    If you find an extra hour of productivity in your day by using your time wisely, that gives you an additional 250 productive hours at work every year.[2]

    2. Make work fulfilling and life meaningful

    There’s nothing more frustrating than spending a day being completely busy but also entirely unproductive. A feeling of accomplishment helps you stay motivated at work. At home this translates into being able to relax and enjoy your time.

    By being conscious of how you use time, you’ll have more of it to spend on the things you love.

    Advertising

    3. End indecisiveness

    Worrying about whether you have made the right choice can be time-consuming. Naturally, big decisions take up a lot of time but the small decisions you make every day can also be huge time-wasters. Deciding what to do next on your to-do list, for example, can have a major time cost.

    Instead of staring blankly at your to-do list wondering what to tackle, create a plan or a routine.[3] This keeps you from using any of your precious minutes questioning what you should do next.

    4. Achieve goals faster

    Many people have big goals to feel fulfilled. But without understanding the importance of time management, these goals could sit on the shelf indefinitely.

    For example, perhaps one of your goals is to lead a healthier lifestyle but you can’t seem to carve out time for gym sessions. Chances are, the time you need already exists. You just have to find it. By making the time to attend to your health, you can make necessary and desirable changes quickly.

    5. Boost confidence

    Time management can improve your confidence. You’re more likely to take care of yourself properly if you have the time to do so. You’ll look and feel more put together before you even set foot into your work space.

    In addition, you’ll get a regular boost from feeling a sense of accomplishment. Meeting your deadlines and exceeding expectations is a huge motivator. On the flip-side, failing to meet deadlines and struggling to keep up leads to burnout.[4]

    Advertising

    6. Have more energy to achieve more

    Constantly feeling worn out and stressed is miserable. It also makes it hard to take on new challenges. An efficient workflow gives you the time to build new skills to improve your work.

    This doesn’t only apply to work, though. Think of how much more exciting life is when you feel energized. With a boost of energy, you’re more likely to try a new hobby or go on an adventure instead of planting yourself on the couch.

    7. Make more time to do the things you love

    After you consider the amount of time that it takes for you to sleep, work, eat, commute and attend to your personal hygiene, you have about four hours per day to devote to the things you do for fun.

    By learning to manage your time, you’ll have more opportunities to work on personal growth, spend time with family or visit friends. This quality time is priceless.

    8. Reduce stress and avoid feeling overwhelmed

    In a given day, you might be tasked with creating a mock up for a project, taking your child to practice, leading a discussion at work and buying groceries. When every task on your to-do list seems equally important, you’ll become overwhelmed.

    Good time management allows you to look at your to-do list, categorize, and prioritize everything that’s expected of you. You’ll readily see the distinctions between work-related and personal tasks. You’ll know whether you can delegate some tasks or shuffle items so that you can be more effective.

    Advertising

    The result is a calmer and more-accomplished you.

    Start managing your time

    Time isn’t an infinite resource for us. By becoming excellent at time management, everyone can make the most of the time they are given. Failing to manage your time means a lot of time wasted and you can never get it back. Succeeding opens a world of possibilities.

    By sharpening your time management skills, you can expect to be more confident and effective at work. You will feel a strong sense of purpose when you produce your best work.

    You’ll also have more time to spend with your family, take care of your own health and wellness. Overall speaking, you’ll drastically improve your life!

    Find out how you can boost your time management skills here: 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management

    Effective time management leaves you energized, which translates into living fully and trying exciting things in the new time you’ve found in your day.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

    Read Next