Power naps increase cognitive function by up to 40 per cent

publication date: Mar 1, 2013
author/source: Jayne Morris
Power napSleep is one of the most important things our bodies need, yet it's often the thing parents miss out on. If you find yourself fighting fatigue during the day, try taking a power nap, says Jayne Morris. Research indicates that a short 20-minute snooze is all it takes to lower stress hormone levels and super-charge your stamina. It has been proven to be beneficial to your heart, hormonal maintenance and overall cell repair. In  my experience napping also enables your brain to clear thought clutter and boost creativity.

Be creative
Naps can be taken almost anytime, any place if you get creative… keep a pillow under your desk, blanket in your car, find a space at the back of a yoga or Pilates class and drop off for a while during the class!

Feel safe
Our primal instincts can prevent us taking a nap if we are sensitive sleepers and don’t feel relaxed in our environment.   Do what you can to reduce distractions – lock the door, pop in some earplugs, wear an eye mask, or close the blinds.

Set an alarm
You will relax and drift off more easily if you know that you are not going to sleep through an important meeting or miss the last stop on the bus.  Set an alarm to wake you up after 20 to 30 minutes.

Avoid caffeine
Caffeine disturbs sleep. For your nap to have best effect, avoid drinking caffeine four to five hours before you snooze.  Taking a nap will reenergise you far more than a cup of tea or coffee can.

Release any inner gremlins telling you that you are ‘lazy’ for napping. Remind yourself of the benefits, according to a study by NASA taking a nap can increase cognitive function by up to 40%!  Now there’s reason to snooze!

Jayne Morris is an NHS Online Health Sector Life Coach and can be contacted via her website.