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Embracing the Power Nap

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Back in July, the SoS theme was “Superpower”, and while I would like to say I am a woman of many superpowers, there is one that has won the admiration of others over the years: my ability to power nap.

I discovered the power nap while I was in college. I was an ambitious (and most likely over-programmed) student, taking classes at the business school from 8a-12p, Monday through Friday (who does that in college!?). There was a reason for my madness; I liked working in the afternoons.

My schedule would go something like this: workout 630-730a, class 8a-12p, Lunch 12-12:15p, job 1-6pm, dinner/study/party 7p-12a. This gave me about 6 hours to sleep, which should be within the healthy range of sleep, but I found myself dragging during the day. I tried coffee to keep me fresh, and it would only temporarily give me an energy boost. One day, I got back from lunch and decided to try and sneak in a nap. At the time, I could only get about 10-12 minutes after lunch because I had to hop on a bus to get to my job downtown. The first month or two, it was more resting my eyes than actual napping, but after six or so months, I was becoming an ace at falling asleep at 12:18 and waking up at 12:30p to catch the 12:40p bus on time. It gave me the second wind I needed.

How does this work? Why does this work?

According to the Sleep Foundation, Napping during the day diminishes homeostatic sleep drive, which can help us feel more awake and perform better.

I believe part of why napping works for me, is that I genuinely love sleeping. I love the feel of being in a bed or closing my eyes (although I could take a nap anywhere, I many times would crawl under the library desks in college while studying for a midterm).

I find that I am more energized with a nap versus a cup of coffee.

Do you want to try a power nap? Power napping, contrary to popular belief, is not an elusive superpower. Anyone can access this tool. Here are some tips to getting your power nap routine going:

1. The key is letting go 100%. Let your mind fully relax and take in the cozy moment. Feel the sheets, the couch, the warm darkness when you close your eyes. Let your mind go

completely blank. Start there. In the beginning, you may also just “eye rest” before you get it down.

2. Make it consistent. Get a napping schedule. For me these days, it’s 3-3:20pm.

3. Set an alarm- this is a must- and get up when it goes off. The nap can derail your whole day if you take one that’s too long- it can actually make you groggier. The point is to sleep just enough to get you to charge the battery, so to speak. You really want to keep this under 40 minutes if possible. I was able to do it for 10 minutes for many years and still got the same great effects.

There are also a ton of tips and advice out there for taking naps:

Some people swear by the caffeinate and sleep combo… this involves ingesting caffeine before the nap and waking up power charged. This doesn’t really do anything for me personally, and I actually like to replace coffee with a nap instead.

SoS’s theme in August is Alignment, and that means being in tune with your body and mind. A nap is a great way to add to this. I believe we should embrace the mini-siesta. It boosts productivity and keeps the energy levels charged and going. It can also serve as a reset, if your day isn’t going your way.

Give it a go! Let us know if you currently nap or if you end up trying it out!

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