Health tips by Barmer: Power napping – an energy boost or a waste of time
When we have been hard at work since early in the morning, we are often hit by an afternoon slump. We become tired, unfocused and hungry, our bodies signal that it’s time for a break. But should you really take a short nap in your lunch break? Absolutely! A power nap is not about having a long sleep – it means briefly dozing off. This has been proven to give you an energy boost and make you feel refreshed – as long as you do it right. We’ll show you how to recharge your batteries for the working day from that little nap at lunchtime.
An energy boost while you sleep – what it’s all about
What used to be called an afternoon nap is now called power napping, a short sleep to recharge our batteries. When our energy levels drop after lunch and we suddenly become uncreative and unproductive, a short nap can work wonders. In Japan, many people in offices simply rest their heads on their desktop at lunchtime; in Silicon Valley, companies are setting up entire rest areas. Other countries are a bit ahead of us when it comes to naps. But many Germans would also like to see a nap culture or quiet rooms introduced.
A short nap for an energy kick
Studies have shown that a short nap is good for our health and improves our performance. According to a study by NASA, half an hour of sleep increases reaction time by 16 percent and reduces lapses in attention by 34 percent. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that power napping can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 37 percent. A short sleep at lunchtime can thus have a positive effect on our well-being, our health and therefore also on our work.
Find a quiet spot
You don’t need a quiet room to have a short rest and fall asleep, because you can take a power nap without lying down. Just rest your head on your arms on the desk. Or tilt your office chair back and close your eyes. Make sure that your head is supported. If you don’t have an office workspace, you might find a quiet spot in your car, on a park bench or on a picnic blanket outside.
The best time for a nap
A power nap is most effective if taken after lunch between 12:00 midday and 2:00 pm. Important: Don’t sleep for too long! Ideally, a nap lasts between six and 30 minutes. If you sleep for longer, it’s hard to get going again afterwards. Are you afraid of oversleeping? Then set the alarm on your smartphone. Or why not try the key trick? Hold a bunch of keys in your hand so that they fall on the floor when you open it. If you fall into a deep sleep, your muscles will relax, and the keys will fall down and wake you up.
By the way, it’s quite normal if you can’t fall asleep right away at first – but power napping can be learned. Try relaxation techniques like simple breathing exercises. This also needs a little practice, but you will soon get the hang of it.