Perfect Power Naps - Sara Mednick, a napping specialist, offers these suggestions on taking power naps:

Power Nap Hints

  1. Recognize you're not being lazy; napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up.
  2. Nap in the morning or just after lunch; human circadian rhythms make late afternoons a more likely time to fall into deep (slow-wave) sleep, which will leave you groggy.

  1. Avoid consuming lots of caffeine for obvious reasons.
  2. Avoid foods heavy in fat and sugar, which meddle with a person's ability to fall asleep.
  3. '''Eat foods high in calcium and protein an hour or two before nap time. These foods promote sleep.
  4. Find a clean, quiet place where passersby and phones won't disturb you.
  5. Darken your nap zone, or wear an eyeshade. Darkness stimulates melatonin, the sleep- inducing hormone.
  6. Body temperature drops when you fall asleep, so raise the room temperature or use a blanket.
  7. Once you are relaxed and in position to fall asleep, set your alarm for the desired duration (see below).

How Long to Power Nap

10 to 20 seconds - Sleep studies haven't yet concluded whether there are benefits to these brief intervals, like when you nod off on someone's shoulder on the train.
2 to 5 minutes - Shown to be surprisingly effective at shedding sleepiness.
5 to 20 minutes - Increases alertness, stamina, motor learning, and motor performance.
20 minutes - Includes the benefits of the micro and the mini, but additionally improves muscle memory and clears the brain of useless built-up information, which helps with long-term memory (remembering facts, events, and names).
50 to 90 minutes - Includes slow-wave plus REM sleep; good for improving perceptual processing; also when the system is flooded with human growth hormone, great for repairing bones and muscles.
Take a Nap! Change Your Life by Sara Mednick

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