Most people think power napping is only for kindergarten kids. But no, napping is for everyone. Children, youths, and adults require power naps. It is healthy and good for the brain. Power napping is more like rebooting the brain as we do to our computers. In general, a power nap will restore your wakefulness and positively enhance your performance.
What is a power nap?
A power nap is a short rest that you take to break your work routine. It is intended to re-energize you and make you fresh for more productivity. Power naps come before the deep sleep and can be positively used to supplement regular sleep. This is why most companies are adopting naps as part of their ethos.
Napping also boosts your intelligence and creativity. It is also said to be able to enhance a prolonged healthy life. Many people have been critical about naps in the past, but it has been proved that naps are good and healthy. Our bodies require naps to treat sleep deprivation. Evolution, growth processes, and brain health may explain this.
What are the sleep cycles?
Most of us go to bed only when tired. But have you taken your time to know what happens when you lay on your bed? Well, that is where the sleep cycle sets in. Once you sleep, you experience a 90-120 minute sleep cycle. The sleep cycle is broken down into five distinct stages. As you sleep, the sleeping pattern keeps shifting. So, sleep is just complicated. It is not what most people think it to be, falling asleep and waking up after some time.
In the first four stages of sleep, there are non-rapid eye movements described as the NREM stage. Here, the eyes rarely move and you shift from stage 1 to stage 4 within a short time. All body muscles, however, retain their body functional ability.
This is how the five stages of a 90-minute sleep cycle are distributed.
In this stage of sleep, your body muscle activity slows down, and you turn around in bed. It takes a few seconds to doze off. It lasts only up to 7 minutes and you can be easily woken up by the least distraction.
Sleep gains momentum. The breathing slows down. Your heartbeat slows too. At this stage, you are a bit sensitive to surrounding stimuli, but heavy sleep starts setting in. There is a sudden increase in production of brain waves. Your body temperature decreases due to less activity in the body organs.
A short sleep stage. It takes only 5 percent of the sleep cycle time. Heavy sleep sets in. You are now less sensitive to any external stimuli. At this stage, your brain starts developing slow delta waves.
This is the last step in the non-rapid eye movement sleep. It takes around 12 to 15 percent of the 90-minute sleep duration. The delta waves produced by the brain in stage three increase and there is rhythmic breathing. At this juncture, you are in a deep sleep. Your body can hardly respond to minor disruptions in the background. In this stage and the previous one, namely stage 3, is when the body repairs muscles and tissues, stimulates growth and development, boosts immune function, and builds up energy for the next day.
This is the last stage in the 90 minutes sleep cycle. Here, you experience Rapid Eye Movements (REM). This is why it is popularly referred to as REM sleep. The eyes move rapidly, up, down, and sideways. It takes the second largest duration of sleep in the cycle, after stage 2. The blood pressure increases with fast and shallow breathing.
In this final stage, the brain delta waves become more rapid leading to dreaming. It has been said that rapid eye movements are the causes of visual images during dreams. This is however hypothetic and has not been scientifically proved.
How to Power Nap?
A power nap includes the first two stages of the sleep cycle. Stage one approximately takes 10 minutes with the second one taking about 20. For you to have a perfect power nap, there are some tips to adopt to make it perfect.
1. Find a good spot
You need to find a place appropriate for taking a power nap. It could be on the table, chair, or even in the field under a tree! What is important here is that you must have no disturbance. It is appropriate if the place is dark and cool.
2. Keep the 30 minute maximum duration
You don’t want to exceed stage two in your nap. As such, you are supposed to set your alarm to time your sleep. Once it goes, do not snooze, just obey, and go back to work or studying!
3. Keep away all distracters
Anything that will interrupt your sleep must be shelved. Get rid of your phone. If you are in an office, you can use a “do not disturb” tag on the door. That is perfect for your power nap.
4. Take a nap in the afternoon
Afternoon siestas make the perfect nap. The lunch you consume could have affected your nutritional balance especially if it had a lot of starch. It perfectly fits the purpose!
Taking naps is healthy and beneficial to your health. The brain requires short naps to revitalize. This is why you need to know how to take the most fruitful nap and when to do it. Stay in the know!
Chances are, if you're in a professional job, your workload will get really heavy at times. When this happens, you don't have to feel like you're trapped under an overwhelming pile of tasks and to do lists. You have the choice and the power to speak truth to yourself so that you can strive to accomplish big things at work.
Below are a few pointers to help you come through the crazy, busy times without experiencing burnout:
1. Keep a Positive Outlook
Allowing yourself to think about the difficulty or unfairness of your situation accomplishes nothing. You simply can't afford taking the time to dwell on thoughts that leave you feeling powerless or resentful. Put your effort into solving each problem and make sure your thinking is action-oriented.
2. Don't Engage in Fruitless Conversation
If your conversations or meetings are not directed at keeping you on task and on moving in a positive direction, cut them out. Your time is too valuable to be caught up in complaining or engaging in the blame game. Use your time to brainstorm solutions instead.
3. Put First Things First
Make sure you know your priorities so that you can stay focused on the task. When you're busy, you may be presented with opportunities and potential commitments that you just can't fit into your loaded schedule. When something new comes across your desk, evaluate it's importance in light of your goals and priorities. Don't be afraid to say no up front. Otherwise, you may add stress to your already packed life, and you'll risk letting people down if you don't have enough time to fulfill those obligations.
4. Get Your Rest
You may think that staying up late to get more done will put you further ahead, but the opposite is true. Shorting yourself on sleep is counterproductive. When you make sure to get plenty of rest, you'll be more alert and able to accomplish more. The reality is that when you're tired, it will take much longer to your work done, and you'll be more prone to make costly or time-consuming mistakes.
5. Remember to Share
Sometimes when you're really busy, it's easy to believe that you have to get it all done yourself. When you have the ability to delegate tasks, do it. You may find that people relish the opportunity to step up to the plate and show you what they can do when you come to them with powerful requests. Not only that, but you'll be able to capitalize on the strengths of others and free yourself to focus on the things you do best.
6. Schedule Time to Recharge
You are not a machine. When you have to go through the schedule gauntlet, make sure you plan some time to help you regain your balance. Whether you schedule a short trip, a spa day, or a day at the gym, you need to take time just for you after a busy season. If you try to press from one task to another without coming up for a breath, sooner or later you'll burn out.
7. Aim for Sustainability
Work was not meant to be a series of never-ending sprints. If you want to be productive over the long haul, you need a consistently sustainable work load. There may be seasons of intensity, but they should only last for a short time. When your schedule seems to be consistently overloaded, it's time to talk with people who can help you make some changes.
8. Keep Calm and Carry On
When your workload threatens to become overwhelming, remember to keep the right frame of mind. You can control your outlook and stay positive. By seeing your schedule as an opportunity to shine, you'll be able to remain focused and calm. If the job seems too big, make powerful requests of others to get valuable support.
Two young men from Uttar Pradesh in northern India, is the inspiration behind Disney's recent movie Million Dollar Arm. Singh and Patel participated in a contest organized by J.B. Bernstein intended to find young men who could pitch a baseball more than 90 miles per hour. The contest was presented as a reality show with the aim of finding “the Yao Ming of baseball.” In other words, Bernstein was looking for a talented, young, Asian athlete who could entertain crowds in the United States. Although none of the contestants in the reality show, also called Million Dollar Arm, pitched a baseball more than 90 miles per hour, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel performed better than any other contestants, and they were rewarded with $100,000 and contracts to play in baseball's minor leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates farm teams.
In appearance, Singh and Patel are completely different. Rinku Singh is well above average in height, standing at 6 feet and 5 inches and weighing 220 pounds, while Dinesh Patel is much smaller, standing below 6 feet. What's similar about them both is their constantly positive attitudes. Before Singh and Patel entered the Million Dollar Arm contest, they had never even heard of American baseball, and both men were professional javelin throwers and amateur cricket players. Their cricket coach was the one who told them to try out for the contest, explaining to them that they could get money just for doing what they loved to do. In fact, the inspiration for Bernstein's contest was a cricket game he saw on television while searching for a way to find talented, young athletes.
J.B. Bernstein was once the agent of great athletes such as football player Barry Sanders and baseball player Barry Bonds, but in recent years he had fallen on hard times. In desperation to find an idea that could revive his career, Bernstein created the Million Dollar Arm contest, which certainly revived his career as well as beginning the careers of Singh and Patel and inspiring the successful Disney movie of the same name. For the original contest, 37,000 participants arrived at the location to try to throw a 90-mile-per-hour fast ball, but none of the young Indian men, most of whom had never heard of baseball, could do it. The first place winner was Rinku Singh, who pitched an 88-mile-per-hour fast ball and won the highest prize of $100,000. Singh and Dinesh Patel, the second place winner, were awarded trips to the United States to try out for Major League Baseball teams.
The Disney movie based on their story stars Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal as Singh and Patel as well as Jon Hamm as Bernstein. It's directed by Craig Gillespie, the filmmaker who directed Lars and the Real Girl. Jon Hamm said of Singh and Patel, “The boys are amazing.” He praised their athletic talent, saying that he himself could never hope to qualify for a professional baseball team and that the young Indian men had not even heard of baseball growing up. Jon Hamm also stars as advertising executive Don Draper in the hit AMC series Mad Men.
Since the unlikely pair of Indian baseball stars came to the United States, Singh and Patel have taken separate roads. Rinku Singh continues to play for the Gulf Coast Pirates minor league team, and Dinesh Patel has returned to his native Uttar Pradesh to coach young baseball players who dream of one day playing professionally. In interviews, the two athletes behave quite differently. Singh appears very comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera, while Patel is the more reserved of the two. While Singh speaks fluent English and attends interviews with his American girlfriend, Patel feels more comfortable speaking his native language and prefers being in Uttar Pradesh. The actor who played Patel in Million Dollar Arm, Madhur Mittal, said that Patel missed being in his home country as soon as he arrived in the United States to visit the film set.
The lessons learned from their story show that anyone can succeed with enough determination, even if the chance of success doesn't seem likely. As Singh and Patel explained, they didn't even have dreams growing up in Uttar Pradesh, and yet they have accomplished more than most Americans dream of, despite poverty in their home region. The key to their success is certainly their positive attitudes and humble demeanor, and perhaps this difference is what sets them apart from most people who grew up with all the advantages of living in the United States. Although Singh and Patel are quite humble and respectful, they haven't forgotten to keep a sense of humor. Before filming Million Dollar Arm, they were asked in an interview who they wished to play them in the film, and they both replied “Rambo” without hesitation. With determination, humility, a sense of humor and belief in yourself, the seemingly impossible can be accomplished.