I have this conversation often with people in our Live Great Programs and have been digging into the research behind napping and reflecting on my own napping habits. The conversations seem to be one of the two extremes.
“I take a nap every day! It’s a power nap and I feel great. I just close my eyes, put my feet up on my desk and I’m out for 10-15 minutes, then back to work.”
Or the other one goes like this.
“Oh, I can’t sleep during the day. It makes me more tired than before. And I’d have to sleep for more than an hour if I were going to take a nap.”
Like so much of life, we get set not in our ways, but more in our beliefs, often called self-liming beliefs. These are beliefs that we have that help us navigate all of the uncertainty and give us the false illusion of something solid and unchanging.
Yet, so often they are not true. What do you believe about naps? Are you the super napper or the just-say-no-to-naps subscriber?
What if you suspended your belief about napping if you are the just-say-no person?
What if you learned that napping changed the life of a Harvard Psychology Professor and inspired her to write “Take a Nap! Change Your Life” by Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D. Her intense research revealed what many generations, and cultures, have practiced. Daily naps make a huge difference in your energy level and the way your brain works. Naturally we all have an energy dip after lunch. And the short nap can be a great solution to that dip to refocus, reenergize and get reengaged in your work, and life.
Often what’s standing in the way is the ability to let go, relax and fall asleep quickly. Not such an easy task. Yoga to the rescue again. The final pose of a yoga class is savasana, or corpse pose. It’s where you rest, doing nothing, just lying there on your back letting the activity of your practice assimilate.
In life just the act of stopping movement is enough for many of us to nod off. If your mind keeps racing you can simply bring your attention to the breath. The soothing rhythm of just noticing the breath can help you relax and let go. Close your eyes, find a place to rest your head, set your alarm for 15-20 minutes and see what happens.
Often when I wake up, and I have practiced napping (for research sake of course) for several years now, I do initially feel a little sluggish. I have my few squares of dark chocolate ready to eat. I stand up do a few quick stretches, take a few deep breaths and the life comes rushing back in.
Never tried it? Suspend belief and see what happens? It might just change your life!