In Spanish it is called a siesta, and they still utilize the siesta with shops and businesses closing from 2 to 5 pm and bars and restaurants closing from 4 to 8 or 9 pm. The older, more traditional reason for the siesta was for a rest from the heat, but the more modern interpretations is that they love to have a huge, long lunch, lasting up to two hours at home with family, which ultimately results in them getting sleepy.
To help offset this afternoon drowsiness, power napping is a big help in the area of office productivity. The concept has been around for a long time but now it is more widely accepted as a practice. Power napping is one of the most effective ways to help you get your second wind and groove back on a busy day to help you to the finish line strong. It doesn’t take as much time as you would think and you can easily accomplish this little nap time on your lunch hour.
Causes of Afternoon Drowsiness
There are several culprits which may be responsible for the dreaded afternoon drowsiness or tiredness. One of the top reasons we may get tired in the afternoon is that we eat too much for lunch, which diverts more blood into our intestines to process and digest the food we ate which in turn results in our becoming sleepy, lethargic and unmotivated to say the least. Other causes could be medical or medication related. Be sure you are not sick and that your medications don’t leave you drowsy after taking them. and read the labels!
Another reason we may be feeling so tired is the lack of a good nights sleep. A typical adult body needs roughly eight hours of sleep a night, give or take, as we can all vary a couple of hours or so. The main problem is that most people don’t get that much, usually between six and eight, and it is not nearly enough for most of them. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation did a recent (2011) survey which resulted in nearly two thirds of adult Americans, or 63% responding that they do not get enough sleep during the the week. So when people don’t get the required sleep they actually need at night, the body doesn’t have enough time to repair itself properly overnight. This in turn can lead to irritability, increased stress and decreased productivity as well, and in the long run, it tends to lower your quality of life and can lead to a lower life expectancy as well.
On the other side of the coin, if you get too much sleep, you virtually are accomplishing the same thing. In essence, nine or more hours of sleep can leave you feeling just as tired as if you didn’t sleep, even though you have just slept soundly the whole night through.
Top Benefits of Power Naps
This practice is widely accepted for children but not for adults, that is naps by the way. We are talking about a regular old fashioned nap in the middle of the day. The fact is that after eight hours of moving around, the body needs to take a pit stop or a little rest. Adult bodies need one of these rests too. This is how and where the power naps come into play.
Here are a few of the benefits of taking a midday break or power napping:
When your body begins to wind down, your brain also begins to shut down. It gets to be increasingly hard to keep up to the previous pace you began with at work. Once you get energized after power napping, you can perform just as well as you did when you first arrived at the office and began the day!
Ability To Focus Increased
We’ve talked about the brain shutting down when your body begins to tire previously. Here we have the same problem, our minds begin to wander around when we get tired or sleepy, and we become less focused and less productive. The words that you are looking for that you need to put the finishing touches on that report are drifting around in your mind just out of your grasp it seems, especially after you take your lunch break. We can positively eliminate that issue by taking power naps every day.
Reduced Stress and Irritability
When we become tired, our patience and strings get a lot shorter, and we become more irritable. We are much more likely to lash out at others or overreact to a simple everyday situation, just like the guys in the Snickers commercials when they get hungry. It is the same concept here, we are not ourselves when we become over tired either. A power nap may be just the solution to regain our composure and normal level of well being.
The Ideal Power Nap
The ideal power nap is typically between 15 and 30 minutes in time. Find a nice quiet spot such as your car or office if you have a door. Turn the light down low to induce a sleep cycle, then just close your eyes and relax. The best time to take a power nap is at the onset of your beginning to feel sleepy. At that point you and your body are already relaxing. For those of you whom are sound sleepers, if you need to, set an alarm so that you don’t oversleep and get embarrassed at work, or worse yet, get in trouble!
Power naps are one sure way to revitalize your body and mind halfway through your day, and giving you the needed energy and momentum to make it through the rest of the day. In most circumstances, we as adults can’t take as long a nap like we were able to when we were kids, but if we utilize these how to power nap tips, we can still catch a few worthy moments of much needed rest and Zs.