Why do you need to take a nap?


How do you feel after a long day at the office, or a day when you have been stuck in front of the computer all day?

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Generally people may feel sluggish, worn out, or just plain exhausted.


When we are feeling like this we aren’t as productive or enthusiastic as we normally are, and that is because as people we aren’t designed to work 24/7/365. We are meant to work in short intense chunks, and this isn’t just physically but mentally. That is why they tell you to take a break from driving every couple of hours to refresh and recover before you have a micro-sleep and potentially hurt yourself, others, or worse. And that is driving, which isn’t too physically or mentally draining, so why would you think work would be any different.



Even top athletes require time to recover, or they will burn out and/or injure themselves. Team players will put their all into the game then go off for a nap before going back on for another bout, and work is the same.

 

There is a technique called the Pomodoro technique, which I will go into more detail in a future video, but basically works on the premise of working in short intense chunks, have a break then work in that format cyclically. During this time you must be single focused. Put the timer on for 20 minutes. Once you start, no phone calls, no emails, no visitors.



Just you and your 1 project at hand. Go all out for 20 minutes, when the alarm goes off, you get up and move, go and get some fresh air and get the blood pumping. You do this for 4 cycles then you have a longer break to fully recover from the 4 previous chunks. You will be amazed how effective you can be with this technique. When you focus intensely, your brain will absorb the information and when you take a break, the brain will assimilate the information into what you already know, to make the unfamiliar, familiar.

 

There are other people I have spoken to who simply can’t fall asleep at night as their mind is racing about things happening at their work, or in their life and they can’t switch it off. For me I am lucky to be a very good sleeper but when I have had issues, and I have shared this with clients to great effect, I put on a guided meditation to help me get to sleep. A lot of the time they tell you to breathe deep and slow, count backwards and generally try to be in the here and now. It works wonders once you listen to what they have to say as it has great calming properties. If you don’t get a good restful night’s sleep how can you be expected to perform at your optimum? You may notice I said restful night’s sleep, as sleep comes down to quality over quantity. That is how you can have 12 hours sleep and wake up tired, or get 6 hours and wake up refreshed.



I also like having 20 minute “power naps” at work during my lunch break. I put on my headphones and zen out for 20 minutes and come back ready to attack the afternoon. This along with getting out and getting some fresh air really recharges my battery in order to bring home the afternoon strong, particularly when others are fading quickly towards the end of the day!


If you would like to learn more about the effectiveness of napping and how it can improve the quality and quantity of your work, click here.


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