28 Feb Go on, take a nap
When you’re busy and stressed the last thing you have time for is an afternoon siesta, right? Actually, it should be top of your to-do list. While it might seem like a waste of time, taking 20 minutes out of your day to lie down and catch some zzzs could be the key to supercharging your productivity. Here’s why…
Sleep refreshes your brain
There’s no doubt about it, your grey matter works better after sleep. Regular quality shut-eye is essential for stable, happy moods, sharp mental performance and memory, but you can also top up those benefits with a daily power nap. Research shows that a quick snooze (and it can be as little as 10 minutes) immediately improves alertness, cognitive performance and mood.
Naps maximise your time
When you’re tired and working long hours to meet a deadline, tasks tend to take longer as you struggle against fatigue. That’s why giving your mind a break with a snooze sesh is the ultimate productivity hack – it allows you to hit refresh on your brain and get back to top performance mode quickly. Some research even suggests it has a stimulant effect on par with caffeine.
Keep it short
The timing of your nap depends on the results you’re chasing. If you just want a pick-me-up, 10-20 minutes should do the job. You’ll score alertness without grogginess as your brain hasn’t had time to go into deep sleep. If you’re sleep deprived and want to feel really rejuvenated, a longer nap could be best – aim for 90 minutes, which is a full sleep cycle. Whatever you do, try to avoid sleeping for 40-50 minutes, as you’ll wake up mid-deep sleep and endure grogginess (also known as ‘sleep inertia’) instead of mental refreshment. And aim to get your nap in before 2pm, or you could struggle to fall asleep at your regular bedtime.