Thomas Edison hardly slept at all, except in 20-minute power naps. Mark Twain was noted for his insomnia, but was always dozing off at public functions.
So what’s the relationship or the secret between 40-winks of nap-time and a person’s creativity?
Regardless of all the relaxation techniques that are popular today, sleep is still the most refreshing and healthful relaxation of all to most people. Even so, the quick 40-winks or power naps between appointments or meetings can refresh and rejuvenate almost anyone as much as 2-hours of sleep.
Throughout history, busy, pressured people have all shared in the ability to take a break from whatever the problems of the moment were, in order to refresh themselves with a short power nap. For problem solvers, trouble-shooters, writers and other people doing creative or intellectual work, the benefits of a short 20-minute power nap can be similar to a transfusion of blood plasma.
These short 20-minute naps for people who are really engrossed in their work, almost always provide a fresh burst of new ideas and energy. They tend to eliminate the need for caffeine boosts during the working day. They also guarantee a reserve of energy so that the working day isn’t followed by an evening in which they fall asleep on the couch watching TV or worse at a social event.
To take advantage of the mental rejuvenation benefits inherent in a power nap, all you need is an uninterrupted 20-minutes. A couch to lie down on would be fine, but if you don’t have a couch handy, simply stretch out on the floor.
Sounds good but your boss just wouldn’t stand for it? In the summer try taking your lunch break in the park instead of the staff room.
Taking the power Nap
When you lie down to take a power nap, you should loosen your shoes your belt and your tie. Basically, it’s best if you lie on your back and cross your arms across your chest. You shouldn’t concentrate on it, nor worry about falling asleep. First off, you’ll be resting and that alone will give you the new energy you need. If your brain needs a rest as well, you’ll soon fall asleep.
It’s all right to think about specific business problems while you’re still in the resting stage, but you must not allow yourself to get up and deal with them if answers come to you before your 20-minute nap period is up. As much as you can, you should try to direct your thoughts to non-work ideas while you’re resting. In other words, you might think about the things you intend to do when you get home from work.
You might mentally play a round of golf on your favourite course. Imagine watching your golf swing and correcting your problems. Besides relaxing you, these reveries provide the extra dividend of actually helping you to improve you own skills. Mental preparation accounts for a great deal of one’s skill in sports, and this kind, which you accomplish while you’re relaxing, can pay off in double dividends.
Learn to ignore whatever noises there are – just tell yourself that these are noises of the atmosphere and do not relate to you. See them as a part of your environment, and not as irritants.
To be sure that you wake up at the end of 20 minutes, set an alarm. Once you’ve practised settling down and resting for 20-minutes at a time, you’ll be able to wake yourself just before the alarm goes off.
Attempting to sleep for 30-minutes or even an hour, will leave you feeling groggy rather than refreshed There is nothing wrong however, with taking several 20-minute power naps at different intervals throughout an especially long or tiring workday. The important thing to remember is that you can gain new energy and new creativity by resting and napping when you feel low on energy or if you’re running out of ideas.
As you awaken from your power nap, you should lie still for a minute or two – then stretch and breathe deeply – take your time in getting up – adjust your clothing and take a drink of water to get your system going again. Then, return to work, starting with simple chores such as opening letters or organizing the work you have to do. Within just a few minutes you should feel full of energy and able to handle any problem as it comes up.
With practice you’ll be able to refresh and rejuvenate your entire mental system with a short 20-minute nap. The important thing is to recognize when you need one to handle the problems at hand, and then to avail yourself of them. Total relaxation, complete physical and mental rest, and then a whole new burst of energy and creativity as the result.
Give it a try for yourself and see if you aren’t amazed at the results from a 20 minute power nap!