Yes, you can now add napping to your list of necessary best business practices. We can all admit there’re times when the thought if only we could close our eyes for a few minutes we could get through the rest of the day.
There are two views about napping. First, the need to revert back to sleep in a form of a nap is due to sleep deprivation. The second is that by closing one’s eyes and resting either in a state of meditation or a short sleep duration of 10-20 minutes, allows the brain to clean out its buffer.
It’s currently estimated that 50% of the US population is thought to be sleep deprived. The recommended number of hours of sleep to rejuvenate the body and brain is 7-8 hours. Some people need 9 hours; other average 6 hours. However, there are the business warriors thriving on 4-5 hours.
Insufficient sleep means that as the brain moves through its sleep cycles, at one point a cycle has been interrupted. Upon awakening the brain in groggy as it attempts to bring all of its functions back online when it’s out-of-synch. It also explains why coffee (caffeine) is such a desirable brain re-boot, if only temporarily.
For those sleep deprived, short-term napping of 10 – 20 minutes is not a remedy. With a lack of sleep, the brain wants to return and complete its cycles from light to deep to REM dream sleep. In order to compensate in some manner, napping will extend itself to around 90 minutes or longer. However, it does not mean that a sleep deficiency has been filled, and often a person will awaken with sleep inertia that may last from a few minutes and up to a half hour.
On the other hand, if you want to use napping for business success then a daily power nap of 10-20 minutes (30 minutes by others) is recommended. Short-term napping allows the brain to partially go off-line and process what it’s accumulated so far.
Think of all the information that been transmitted to your brain from the time you awoke to let’s say 1- 2:00 pm today. It’s not only your own thoughts but massive amounts of visual, sensory and audio data input.
Most of that information is sitting in the hippocampus, a short-term holding tank waiting to be evaluated for long- term memory storage and access. When your short-term holding tank is full, your brain is going to find a way to shut down in some manner – thought processing slows down, memory recall lags, headaches, eye strain, and that sneaky feeling of sudden tiredness.
Why you want to use napping in your business
Short-term napping allows the brain to clear out the build-up of information without any new information coming in at the same time. Research indicates that this 10-20-minute brain break has immediate benefits.
- More energy
- Increased productivity
- Greater sense of alertness
- Increased quality performance
- Reduction in mistakes and accidents
- Improved learning ability
- Reduction in stress and burnout
- Increased memory function
- Improved cognitive function
- Increased levels of creativity
- Improved decision-making skills
- Increased emotional resilience
- Better sense of well-being and mood
All this in 10-20 minutes on a regular napping basis.
How to nap effectively
Ideally, the best time to nap is earlier in the day rather than later. This way it will not interfere with your sleeping schedule at night. Having the room as dark as possible will reduce distractions, or if that is not an option, you can use a sleeping mask as an alternative. It’s also suggested to use a light blanket because body temperature will drop even in this short time. Set a timer to ensure you limit yourself to 10-20 minutes. If not, you might find yourself falling into a deeper and longer sleep.
If you and your business are running out of energy at some point each day, then scheduling a power nap may be want’s needed to energize you towards greater success. Here’s great visual recap.
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