In today’s fast-paced world, we
need to have huge amounts of energy in order to function, to work, to
be on the move and to fulfill all the tasks that we need to do. It is
inevitable that all this pressure, exertion, and anxiety take their toll
on our bodies. In times like this, only one thing can surely help us
recover and bounce back refreshed and ready for another day: a good
But what if you find yourself in a situation where sleep is hard, even
impossible, to come by? If you have ever been to a big V event like a
RevCon or the VCON, then you know exactly what I mean. During these
multi-day events, InService members are expected to be ready almost 100%
of the time. So with the constant activity and sleep deprivation, how
can we make sure we still get the rest that we need in order to be at
The answer is Power Napping.
Scientists have been studying the power nap--when to take it, how to
take it, what to do before you take it, and so on; their findings
suggest that the following steps will help you get the most power out of
a power nap.
1. Find a good place to nap.
• Don’t just lie down or curl up on the floor anywhere. Look for a
quiet area that is accessible but not in the way of the main activity.
The low noise level will make your nap more effective.
• Turn off your mobile phone and any other potential distractions. If
background noise is unavoidable and distracting, putting on headphones
with relaxing music may help.
• If you're sleeping during the day and find that bright light
inhibits your ability to sleep, wear sunglasses or use an eye mask to
2. Have caffeine (coffee or tea) right before you nap.
• What? Caffeine before I sleep? Are you kidding?
• While it is true that caffeine is a stimulant, the effects do not
kick in right away. It takes 20 minutes for the caffeine to take effect.
• This means while you are napping, the caffeine is making its way
around your body. And when you wake up, the caffeine will kick in and
help boost your performance.
• Plus, it helps decrease the sleepy feeling you get when you have just waken from your nap.
• 200 mg of caffeine is advisable for a 20 minute nap
• As soon as you finish your coffee or tea, lie down and close your eyes.
3. Set an alarm.
• The ideal time frame for a power nap is 20 minutes. Anything more
than that can promote sleep inertia, which is that sluggish, drowsy
feeling you sometimes get when you have inadequate sleep.
• If you are the type of person who hits the “snooze” button when the
alarm goes off, put your alarm across the room or on a table, so that
you have to get up if you want to turn it off.
4. What if I can’t sleep?
• Close your eyes and meditate. Or at least, try not to worry about what’s going on outside. Think relaxing thoughts
• Regulate your breathing. Focus on deep inhaling and exhaling to relax your muscles and your heart rate.
• Make sure that you are lying down in a comfortable position. Blood circulation is important when resting.
• Listen to soothing music.
5. When your nap is finished
• Get up as soon as the alarm goes off. Do not extend your nap unless you are sure that you can turn it into a full sleep.
• Follow up with physical activity. Get your blood pumping with a few
jumping jacks or push-ups, or a little bit of jogging in place.
• Wash your face
• Expose yourself to bright light (e.g. sunlight) to accelerate feelings of alertness.
Power Napping is a great way to catch up on much-needed rest, especially
during hectic activities. If taken correctly, Power Naps can give you
the boost that you need to survive the grueling demands of these events.
But remember, if you have the opportunity to get an adequate amount of
rest and sleep, take it. Power Napping is a great short-term solution,
but nothing beats a good night’s rest.