Power naps! For a long time I was convinced that a power nap is nonsense. Till I started to research the power nap a bit more. And I realised that a power nap is a sort of super efficient sleep, which has big results in a short time. And efficiency is definitely something you are interested in as a PhD student?
So what is the story of the nap? Naps are beneficial for your heart, they restore the hormone balance and repair damaged cells. Sleeping is a kind of rejuvenating treatment. These advantages are at its best when you can enter and leave this state of sleep as quickly as possible.
How does a power nap work? During a power nap you use the different stages of a complete sleep cycle as effectively as possible. A sleep cycle takes 90 to 120 minutes. The ideal power nap is 20 minutes, you will wake up energized again as you only enter the first sleep phases. A power nap also makes you more productive, happier, less stressful, increases your memory and you can improve learning. A power nap ensures your brain works better for the whole day.
However it is very important that you keep track of your power nap. If you sleep longer than 20 minutes the changes are big you wake up groggy. In case you do sleep longer than 20 minutes, make it 90 to 120 minutes, a full sleep cycle.
How to make sure you will enjoy the best power nap? Six tips to benefit the most.
- Have it clear in your mind that you are not lazy: napping will help you to be more productive and alert once woken up.
- The best time to have a nap is in the morning of just after lunch, considering your biological rhythm. Napping at any other moment increases the risk you will enter a different sleeping phase and wake up sluggish.
- Don’t drink a lot of coffee and avoid eating too much sugar and fat. To make sure you will fall asleep easily, try to eat food with lots of calcium and protein.
- Chose a quite place where nobody (including phones) can disturb you. Preferably a dark room or use a sleeping mask. Darkness helps to promote the production of melatonin in the body, a hormone that causes sleepiness.
- When asleep, your temperature will lower. Make sure the room you are in is warm enough or use a blanket.
- Don’t forget to set your alarm!
I am going to give this a go in the coming weeks. If you want to try the power nap as well, I am looking forward to hearing your experiences.
Do you want to stay informed about all the handy tips, tricks and tools? Receive 244 #phd tips and get the newsletter as a bonus! Register here.