How To Take A Power Nap

If getting eight hours isn't an option, here's the next best thing 

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Sleep. 

We used to all brag about how little we got, thinking the less we needed, the more successful we looked, Patrick Bateman-style.  

No more.

In this age of fuel bands and sleep apps, with a sudden zest for health and wellbeing, we all want as much as we can get our hands on. 

Even still, most of us are too busy to grab a full eight hours every night, no matter how many times we're told we should. 

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For the next best thing, we asked sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan how to take a successful power nap, for maximum rejuvenation and re-booted productivity. 


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1 | The best time to power nap is during the day when you start to feel sleepy or your ability to concentrate on your task is reduced.

2 | The first step is to get comfortable but not too comfortable. You can use this technique just about anywhere where you can fully relax: a couch, a car, even the floor – the key is to find somewhere that you can mentally and physically relax without worrying about being disturbed.

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3 | Don't forget to switch off your phone.

4 | You might want to think about sound and lighting levels. When you first start using this technique you may want to experiment with creating an optimal environment for your power nap. This might involve using some relaxing aromatherapy oils in a burner or, if you have had a particularly busy day and your mind is racing, it might be helpful to have some sort of noise in the background that you can focus onto and ignore at the same time. You can experiment by dimming the light but avoid complete darkness.

5 | Set an alarm for 10-20 minutes or ask someone to let you know when this time has passed.

6 | Close your eyes and become aware of your breathing. You will be aware of external sounds, internal sensations and thoughts but keep focusing on your breathing and don't try to block anything out.

7 | While focusing on your breathing, mentally whisper the word IIIIIIN as you breathe in and OOOOOOOUT as you breathe out. Feel yourself sinking deeper and deeper into relaxation with every breath you take. Focus on how your nostrils feel as the air moves in and out, or how the air feels when it hits the back of your throat.

8 | When the alarm goes, rouse yourself gently from your nap. Open your eyes slowly and start to move your fingers and toes. After a minute or two you should be fully conscious, more relaxed and at the same time mentally and physically energised. If you can, take a short walk – two or three minutes will do, or move around and do some gentle stretches.

9 | You can really optimise the results of your power nap by using your own relaxing words or mantra while you nap. For example, some people use the word "calm" or "peace".

10 | Some people also use visualisation during their nap - this is a trick that many top athletes use to enhance their performance. The more you use this wonderful tool, the more creative you can be.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan is the author of Tired But Weird – The Essential Sleep Toolkit (Souvenir Press)

 

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