I started taking power naps during my son’s first year of life. At the time, I had a newborn, was teaching full-time, taking graduate school courses, and tutoring online part-time. After work, I would pick up my son from daycare, go home, and just stare at the wall because I was so tired. Thinking about how much I still had to do made me even more tired.
One day, when my husband arrived home from work, I told him I was going to lie down for a few minutes. Not wanting to sleep clear through to the next day, I set my timer for 20 minutes and closed my eyes. Afterwards, I couldn’t believe how refreshed I felt after just 20 minutes of lying down, closing my eyes, and resting. I didn’t even feel like I had fully fallen asleep, yet I felt rested.
The next time I came home and felt exhausted with no motivation, I did the same thing. These power naps helped me make it through the last stretch of my day. I cooked dinner, bathed my son, went to the gym, and then knocked out a chunk of homework while tutoring.
Since then, things have calmed down for me, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t take a power nap from time to time. I am pro-power naps, even though it might seem impractical. Sleeping instead of getting things done? How does that even make sense? Some people have told me there’s no way they can rest in just 20 or 30 minutes.
Here’s how you can get started as a Power Nap Pro:
Step One: Give your children something quiet to do while you take your power nap.
It used to be that I could only take a nap if my spouse was home because my son was so young. Now, he’s at the glorious stage of being able to entertain himself with toys, cartoons, or games on the iPad. Yes, I am not above technology aiding my sleep.
Step Two: Set a timer or an alarm to make sure you don’t seep past 30 minutes.
You don’t want to accidentally set yourself into a full sleep cycle, especially in the evening, and then find yourself wide awake at 11:00PM.
Step Three: Get in bed!
After you have your children situated and your alarm set, go to sleep! Seriously, lie down on your bed as if you were going to sleep for the night. It will trick your mind into thinking it’s time to rest. I find I have a harder time resting in an unusual place like the couch compared to my actual bed. However, if you’re one of those women who could crash anywhere — power to you.
Step Four: Clear your mind.
Only focus on resting your body. Don’t stress yourself out thinking “I have to fall asleep … I have to fall asleep!” because that is counterproductive. You aren’t resting if you’re stressing yourself out. I like to imagine what a yoga instructor would say — focus on your breathing and think of something peaceful. Even if you don’t fall asleep, you’re still doing your body a favor by lying down, being still, and giving yourself a chance to slow down.
Step Five: Make Power Naps a habit.
I found it was difficult for me to fall sleep in the 15-30 minute Power Nap window. However, the more often I took Power Naps, the more my body got used to stopping and resting for those short periods of time. Now, I can lie down and fall asleep within a matter of minutes!
If you’re still not sold on the idea of taking a power nap, here are some of the reasons why I am Pro-Power Naps.
I have energy to finish the day.
After taking a power nap, I am able to accomplish what I need to do before I go to sleep at night.
It forces me to take a mental break.
Being a mom and a high school teacher, I have mentally exhaustive days. Taking 20 minutes to clear everything out helps my focus and mental health.
Naps keep my caffeine habit and sweet tooth in check.
When I’m tired, the first thing I want to shove in my mouth is a row of Chips Ahoy cookies and top it off with a cup of coffee. Taking a power nap instead avoids this.
It gives me stress relief.
I accomplish more, I feel less tired, I take time to clear my head, and I take in less sugar and caffeine. All those things together decreases stress.
My power nap forces a quiet time for everyone.
My son gets time to quietly play in his room after school while I take a quick nap. This short times gives us both a chance to recharge at the end of the day.
Are you interested in taking a Power Nap yet?