The Power Nap: Nature’s Energy Drink

We have associations and foundations to tell people to sleep and campaigns to get kids to play. What is this world coming to? Have we gotten so off track that we need to teach ourselves to do what we already do naturally, like sleep? Apparently so.

Almost one third of the American population is sleep deprived. Not getting adequate sleep leads to diminished mental capacity, high stress, and low productivity; not to mention, serious health issues like high blood pressure, heart attack, and diabetes.

Coffee, energy drinks, and other stimulating drinks have taken the nation by storm in an attempt to capitalize on our need to stay awake and stay productive. Aside from spending lots of money on those drinks, one has to think about the possible health risks associated with drinking too much, too often. I’ve discovered another way to supplement my sleep quota and refresh myself at the same time: power napping.

A power nap is a short nap of light sleep, usually lasting between 15-20 minutes. Since you never reach the stage of deep REM sleep, you don’t experience grogginess and disorientation when you reawaken. Yet, you gain amazing benefits like: mental alertness, focus, productivity, stress-reduction, and overall good feelings.

Although I had heard of the Power Nap, I always thought it was only for overworked, high powered business executives. Little did I know, it is for everyone, including me. I discovered this quick way to nap by accident when my work schedule limited me to only ninety minutes between projects. I found myself scrambling to grab a bite, change clothes, and get a moment to sit before I had to go again; and then later in the evening, I was really tired.

In order to get a quick break, I would sit on the couch and close my eyes for a few minutes, setting my alarm as a safeguard in case I fell asleep. Since I had such a short time to work with, I ended up resting for about 20 minutes or less. I would get up feeling better … refreshed even. That accident turned into a several times per week thing: a regularly scheduled power nap.

Now, at least 3 times per week I set my alarm for a quick nap and settle in. Although I usually fall asleep pretty quickly, there are times when I don’t; but alas, I still get the benefit of rest and get up feeling revived. Once the alarm goes off, I remain lying down for another few minutes so my body can make the physical and mental adjustment to my surroundings. Then, voila, I’m off to my next shift with a little pep in my step.

If you happen to be reading this before 3:00 pm, consider taking a power nap yourself. Happy zzzzzzzz’s!.


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