In Mini-Habit #1, I introduced going to sleep 15 minutes earlier. This week, in good Mini-Habit #2, we extend the subject of sleep with mid-day napping. Studies have shown that even a short 15 to 30 minute mid-day nap produces great results for energizing your mind and body for a productive second half of the day. Typically, after lunch many people feel tire or sluggish. This is usually the cause of eating the wrong types of food for lunch. If you were to let yourself take a short nap freely, without hesitation or without feeling guilty, would you take it? If you have an hour for lunch could you fit in a 15 or 20 minute snooze?
The next question, where to nap? Try your car. You can drive to a local park or quiet area. A covered parking structure is also a good choice. You can keep a set of eye coverings and ear plugs, or cotton balls in your car to help make falling asleep easier. Recline in your seat, cover your eyes, and fill your ears and your set, ready to snooze.
You can also use soft, slow paced music with ear plugs. Meditation music may be helpful or classical arrangements with violins, cellos, guitar, harps and piano. Just make sure the music is slow and soft and puts you in a relaxed and sleepy mood, drowning out the world outside.
If you work at home, you probably work at all hours of the day. Since you do not have a daily commute, you have the luxury of napping when you feel the need. One thing you have to be concerned about is spending half your day in bed or on sofa. Here you can take one hour naps.
Since I work at home, I find that any time I need to take a break, I lie down and read something. In a few minutes I usually find myself falling asleep with the book in my hand. I will sleep for about 30-45 minutes. I wake up refreshed and usually have a spurt of energy to get back to work on the computer with a good idea to add to my work.
If you only have a 30 minute lunch break and it is hard to snooze at work, try a nap during your daily breaks. During the day you might have two 15 minute breaks. Take both of your breaks for snoozing. It may not seem like much time, but if you are able to drop off quickly, then you’ll have a chance to get a little rest. You can tell your manager what you want to do. You can also combine your break time into one 30 minute nap. Your manager will usually be up for the idea because she will understand that a well rested employee is more productive.
What about napping on the weekends or holidays? I bet you probably already do this to some extent. I would assume that almost everybody takes a nap on Thanksgiving or on Christmas day. The idea of napping is to restore energy to be more productive later. Therefore, napping should not bear a negative connotation exclusive to the very young or very old. Now, if you need to nap because you stay up late and do things you shouldn’t, then you are napping for the wrong reason.
Exercise Habit: Begin this habit of good napping today. Fit in a 45-60 minute nap each day. If you find this to be impossible, use 30 minutes. It has been studied that even a short nap in the day will increase brain function and give you much needed energy for a more productive second half of the day. Happy dreams.