Power napping

... a short minute's sleep, a booster for more well-being and performance

Mark Twain

"I never did any calisthenics other than sleeping and resting."

Anyone who has ever spent their vacation in southern countries has quickly noticed it. The people living in these countries seem cheerful and very relaxed. And this is despite the fact that people often have to work hard to earn a living and there is no social safety net to catch them if they become unemployed or seriously ill. Why are people so confident and relaxed despite the obvious stress? Is it perhaps partly because many people take a siesta at lunchtime?

The term siesta comes from Spanish and means the very popular and culturally rooted afternoon nap. In southern countries it is the custom to eat late for lunch; usually around 2 p.m. in the early afternoon and then gladly 1 hour or longer. After lunch there is an afternoon nap, which can last between half an hour and up to two hours. Most of the smaller shops are also closed during this time.

The benefits of the short midday nap are also gaining more and more followers in Central European countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In a modified form, the siesta goes by the name of "power napping. In contrast to the siesta, a power nap is much shorter. A power nap includes a sleep phase of 5 to a maximum of 30 minutes. You should not sleep longer than 30 minutes during the day, because otherwise you will fall into a deep sleep phase, the abrupt end of which does not bring about the desired mental refreshment and a new performance boost, but on the contrary leads to tiredness and drowsiness.

Many say that they couldn't sleep that short. The trick is that it's not about having to sleep, but about a short, deep phase of physical and mental relaxation. And anyone can do that. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath and let go. Anyone who celebrates this ritual for several weeks will have learned to appreciate the beneficial effect and make power napping out of habit. It's like brushing your teeth.

I myself often felt tired and sleepless for many years. I gave in to the tiredness and, if my professional obligations allowed it, went to bed for an hour or two in the afternoon. I quickly realized that this was a mistake. I was even more tired afterwards. But since I've had one or two power naps in the afternoon, I've felt a lot fresher and more productive.

Power napping also needs to be learned. Here are a few tips that will show you how a power nap (almost) always works:

# 1 When is the right time for power napping?

The best time for a power nap is after lunch or in the early afternoon between noon and 2 p.m. At lunchtime in particular, the performance of many people decreases, both physically and mentally. After 6 p.m. you shouldn't insert a power nap in order not to disturb your biorhythm or sleep rhythm. The right time is always when you feel tired and exhausted or you have the feeling that you need to take a break.

# 2 What's the right place for a power napping?

There is no right or wrong place for power napping. You can do it almost anywhere. Be it in the office, at home or, for example, during a train ride. Wherever you don't bother anyone with it or expose yourself and others to danger, you can nap power. If it is too light for you, you can create an artificial darkness with the help of a sleep mask.

# 3 How long should a power nap last?

That is very individual. As a rule, a power nap lasts between 5 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes of sleep. In no case sleep longer in order not to get into the deep sleep phase.

# 4 do I always have to lie down for a power nap?

The answer is no. Make yourself as comfortable as possible. Whether you lie in bed or on the couch, or on your office chair or in the driver's seat of your parked car, take a comfortable sleeping position. Regardless, you just have to be able to relax and most importantly, you should design your sleeping environment so that you cannot injure yourself. Those who are familiar with relaxation techniques can also adopt the popular cab-driver posture.

# 5 After the power nap

If you are still inexperienced, it is advantageous to set an alarm clock. As soon as the alarm goes off, you have to get up and carry on. No matter if you feel rested or if you have the feeling that a few more minutes of sleep would do you good. Get your body used to fixed sleep times. You will see that your body is capable of learning and adapting.

By the way, even Albert Einstein is said to have cultivated the power nap. In order not to slip into the deep sleep phase while sleeping, he is said to have picked up a bunch of keys. When entering the deep sleep phase, the muscles relax, the key falls on the floor and you wake up instantly.

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