The most commonly checked condition on my new-client intake form is “sleep problems.” Plenty of other sources bolster my suspicion that few of us are getting enough sleep at night. Regular napping can help rejuvenate you and make up for the sleep you didn’t get last night.
Napping is definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. Here are some of your options for catching up on your sleep at work.
Power Nap - a quick, rejuvenating nap that gets you to a light Stage 2 sleep, but no further. This 10- to 20-minute leaves you refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the afternoon. The ideal nap for an office worker. AKA: catnap, forty winks.
Caffeine Nap – drinking a cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage and then taking a 15-minute power nap. The caffeine kicks in about the time you wake up, augmenting the recuperative benefits of the nap.
Planned Nap - a preemptive nap for when you anticipate being fatigued later. You might take one of these if you’ll be working long into the night on a big project.
Disco Nap – a type of planned nap before you go out for the evening (thanks to my client Scott for telling me about this one).
Emergency Nap – the nap you simply have to take if you are driving, operating heavy equipment, or otherwise putting yourself or others at risk due to your sleepiness.
Habitual Nap - napping at the same time each day, the way a child naps every afternoon. I take a nap most days about an hour after lunch.
Siesta - a culturally specific habitual nap.
Manager’s Nap – a 30- to 60-minute nap that puts you into slow-wave sleep, the stage just before deep REM sleep. Naps of this length are good for restoring and improving decision-making skills.
Problem-Solving Nap – a 60-to 90-minute nap that puts you into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This deep sleep helps your brain make new connections and solve creative problems.
Restorative Nap – a one-and-a-half to three-hour nap to catch up after a long sleep-deprived stretch. Unless you have a really flexible work situation and a very supportive boss, you might want to save this one for the weekend.
Regardless of the type of nap you take, be sure to adopt these napping best practices:
- for most people, mid-afternoon is the best time for a nap
- select a comfortable, quiet place
- lie down – it can take 50% longer to fall asleep if you’re sitting upright
- focus on your breathing to slow down and relax your body
- be sure to use an alarm clock, cell phone, or other gadget to keep your nap to the desired length
- ear plugs, white noise, or soothing music can help mask unwanted background noise
- eschew feelings of guilt - we are hard-wired to nap midday, and you’ll perform better after a nap
How often do you nap? Is there a break room or other place at your office where you can catch a quick catnap? Let us know by leaving a comment below.