Power Nap 101: How to master the art of the afternoon snooze

by Kim Palmer & Hazel Gale, 28th June 2023

I’ve been on a personal crusade to campaign for everyone to take a power nap, at the very least every second day, for years now. I started my power napping journey back when I had my first son, 6 years ago. This was out of pure necessity. I just found that there was no way I could get through a day without it. And to be completely frank, I didn’t like how I was acting and how I felt when I didn't have a nap (I was very snappy and shouty!)

I always loved to have a long snooze on the sofa pre-kids, but had to adjust this with a baby to something a little shorter, so I made it my mission to master the art of a 20 minute power nap.  And once I got the hang of it I realised that not only was I less snappy and shouty, I was more productive, felt more focussed and had way more clarity. I  even found it an amazing way to get my creative juices flowing too. 

What I’m always struck by is why I seem to be one of only a few people I know who power naps. To me it’s the world's best health-hack, and it’s completely free, gluten free, vegan, no additives, organic blah blah blah! Plus, now that Boris Johnson has fessed up to taking an ‘executive nap,’ surely now it’s time for the power nap to go mainstream.

So let’s deal with two of the main obstacles I hear about why people can’t or won’t power nap. 

Obstacle one -  ‘I feel too guilty to take a nap’

I hear this a lot, especially from women saying they feel that they should be doing something like working, cleaning, etc. They say things like ‘I feel like I should be doing stuff, not resting or taking a break’ or ‘I don’t have the time’. I hear you. But it’s time to reframe the idea of taking a break and having a rest as being unproductive. It just isn’t true. 

Taking a break, rest, nap or whatever you want to call it is critical to being productive. You are not productive when you are exhausted, when you can’t think properly, or when you’re feeling like you are about to crack.It is precisely the times where you feel you can’t take a break, that you body and mind need a break. Taking a break is productive. Think of napping as a way of slowing down in order to speed up. By stepping away from ‘doing’ for a moment, you can step back in with more clarity and more energy.

Obstacle two - 'I don’t have time or I have tried and I felt groggy and rubbish'

For this I’ve asked our Resident Therapist, Hazel Gale, to jump in and share her tips for mastering the art of the power nap, so that you don’t have to spend 2 hours napping and so that, when you do, you feel refreshed and ready to go.

Tip One - The shorter the better

Anytime we fall asleep we move through a series of sleep stages and the trick is to try to not go into a very, very deep sleep for too long, or you will wake up feeling groggy and drowsy. The best length is between 10 and 20 minutes, and no longer than half an hour. 

Tip Two - Try guided power naps

If you’re a bit worried about starting out, and also worried about waking up, you can try a few options. First the Clementine app has a 19 min power nap session that is loved by the women using the app. Or why not try playing white noise or classical music and setting an alarm to wake you. 

Tip Three - Don’t stress if you don’t doze off

Sometimes you may not fall asleep. Try to not stress about this and use the time to relax and remind yourself that relaxing is just as good as a sleep.  A rest will be more than enough to give you some extra energy. If you find yourself stressing, repeat this mantra “It’s ok to rest, I don’t have to fall asleep, enjoy this break.”

Tip Four - Get comfy (but not too comfy!)

Find somewhere comfy, but not too comfy.  A couch or a cosy chair is a good option. If you want to lie on your bed, that’s cool, but don’t get into bed or you might find it really hard to get going again. 

Tip Five - Go gently

Try to plan to give yourself an extra couple of minutes after the power nap to get back to full energy, so you can gently get going. This period after the nap can often be a time where creative ideas start to flow, so if you have 5 minutes to spare, allow yourself to lie there for a little longer and let the ideas flow.

Tip Six - Re-hydrate

Drink a glass of water after your nap. This will help to nourish your body, not just your mind, and is a nice way to signal that you are moving into a new active mode.

Tip seven - Not too late

Don’t nap too late in the day. This could really make it tricky to get back to sleep at night. If you can leave about 3-4 hours before going to bed after a nap, that’s ideal.

Tip Eight - Practice

You may not get it right the first time but remember that there are soooo many benefits of resting, so keep going with it. Try to schedule this into the same time every few days or whatever works for you but by creating a routine around it, so that you will have more of a chance of building this into a ritual that you will protect like gold.

So there is our two cents worth on power napping 101, an activity that has revolutionised my life and brought self care into my every day.

We've got just the session to help you master the afternoon snooze. Our Power Nap & Recharge session is designed to help guide you into a short but powerful reset whenever you need it. Play our Power Nap session today. 


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