Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Power Nap -

I am not a very good napper, but as I am whooped by the end  (or middle) of the day I have been trying to teach myself how to Power Nap.

In the past it took me so long to come down and turn my brain off, that once I went to sleep I stayed asleep for an hour or more, and then felt worse afterward.  And I felt super lazy.  
An old picture of Ralphie dog who took his nap into the bed this day.  It's easy to get in the nap mood with this guy around.

Short naps are beneficial for lots of reasons and as I have been getting better at them I have found that I feel good (not gross and groggy and angry) after a SNAP (short nap) of about 15-30 minutes, and I am way more productive throughout in the day.  I still sleep well at night, but don't have that overly tired-my-body-weighs-a-thousand-pounds-I'm-going to-die-if-I-don't-get-to-sleep-this-instant feeling.

Since I work at home I can SNAP at any part of the day, though the 2 o'clock hour calls my name.  When I taught school I would often get home, do a few things and lie down for like 15 minutes and close my eyes.  Even that little bit was beneficial for the rest of my evening.

Some days don't even allow a 15-30 minute break - I get it. Some days go by and I wonder if I brushed my teeth.  

But on the days that do allow a short break, here are my thoughts to get you going.

1)  Don't feel guilty - this is going to make you more productive, and probably nicer.

2) Turn the ringer/sound off on all phones (All it takes for me is one small bing somewhere in my house and I assume the best news of my life has just been emailed to me and who can rest then!)

3) Find a good nap spot - I like napping in my bed, but many people prefer a sofa or guest bed or their desk chair.  It's helpful to have one spot you always nap in.  

4) Get a blanket - even when it's hot - just in case. Your body can rest better if it's a little warm.

5) Get the right audio- I like quiet, but my husband likes sound.  Noise canceling headphones with spa music could be good.

6) I think it’s a good idea to nap in a different sleep position than you normally sleep, so I make myself lay down on my back.  It’s comfortable, but a less deep sleep for me.

7) Don’t get too comfy - stay in regular clothes, don’t have it too dark in the room, etc. 

8) Have a thinking strategy to turn your brain off. This is vital for me. I count backwards slowly starting at 40. Sometimes I don’t make it past 30, but if I get all the way to zero then I just start over from 50 or something.

To me the hardest part of a nap is to concentrate on relaxing and to NOT think about what else I should be doing or what I need to remember to do when I get up and oh yeah I have to email that girl and oh crap I have to get those clothes out of the washer before they get stinky and I wonder if I bought feta cheese when I went to the store and oh man this lame nap is over and I didn't even rest.  I HAVE to turn my brain off. 

Here are a few ideas from the internet that I don’t love, but found interesting enough to share.

 - Drink a few sips of a caffeinated drink before you power nap. It will take a smidge to kick in and help you wake up and feel alert when the power nap is over.

 - Hold on to your car keys while you nap. When you go deeper asleep you will drop them and ideally wake yourself up. OR, my Dad's "good idea,"  to hold a cup of water on your chest when you lie down and... I think you see where his plan is going.  

In a perfect world, that I do not live in, I would like to exercise AND power nap every day without exception.  A short nap, on the days it is possible, help me feel human though.  I can make it to 9:30  at night this way instead of eyeing the clock at 7:30.  

I think Tired Girls can relate - when we get too tired (or too hungry actually) - we are all Robin Williams in this Snickers Commercial - we get a little loopy.  My thoughts make about as much sense has his idea for balloon animals. A power nap could help this guy.  And a Snickers always sounds good as well. 

 Any good tips for successful power napping?

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