- Avoid consuming large quantities of caffeine as well as foods that are heavy in fat and sugar, which meddle with a person’s ability to fall asleep.
- Find a clean, quiet place where passersby and phones won’t disturb you.
- Try to darken your nap zone, or wear an eyeshade. Darkness stimulates melatonin, the sleep- inducing hormone.
- Remember that body temperature drops when you fall asleep. Raise the room temperature or use a blanket.
- Once you are relaxed and in position to fall asleep, set your alarm for the desired duration (see below).
How long is a good nap
THE NANO-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.
THE MICRO-NAP: two to five minutes. Shown to be surprisingly effective at shedding sleepiness
THE MINI-NAP: five to 20 minutes. Increases alertness, stamina, motor learning, and motor performance.
THE ORIGINAL POWER NAP: 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).
THE LAZY MAN’S NAP: 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.
Contrary to popular opinion, napping isn’t for the lazy or depressed. Famous nappers have included Bill Clinton, Lance Armstrong, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison. The moral of the story: to be ultra-productive, just rest your head. You snooze, you gain. Give it a try for yourself and see if you aren’t amazed at the results!