This is a podcast recording as part of a five-part podcast series done in collaboration with Apex hotels and their WarmerWelcome campaign.
Welcome back to the Rejuvenate, Focus, and Relax series of podcasts with Apex Hotels. I’m Celynn Morin, Wellbeing expert, and today we’re going to take a look at the rise of the power nap.
It’s so important for us to relax today ’cause we are so switched on all the time. Many of us are, sadly, not getting enough sleep so in one of the recent podcasts we spoke about the importance of sleep as the ultimate relaxation. Now if you’re not getting enough sleep or if you’re really busy and you need to get a lot done, maybe power napping could be just the thing you need to have in your toolkit.
So we’re not talking about a two-hour siesta here. We’re talking about a 30 minutes or less power boost, which can help your body and your mind to almost reboot. There’s a lot of research that substantiates that power napping can help you to refocus and be mentally more alert later in the day. So the idea would be to use a power nap, perhaps in the afternoon, not too close to wanting to go to sleep at night, but just when you’re maybe feeling that afternoon energy slump.
There are many cultures, actually, that completely see power napping as normal. But sadly, ours perhaps doesn’t look at it like this. So I appreciate that you may be on the go and it’s not always easy to find a space to be able to do this. So if you can’t go find a quiet space or go to your car, you can actually just sit back at your desk and perhaps just close your eyes. I actually have an eye patch that I keep in my bag and I know that my friends and colleagues understand that when that’s on that they don’t disturb me and I’m probably just resting for 10 or 15 minutes.
So before we go into the practical “how” you can actually do this, why is this important? I’ve mentioned that power naps can give you energy. That’s absolutely. In fact, there was some interesting research that took a look at what was the better way to be energized, to have really strong coffee or to have a power nap? Yeah, you guessed right. It was actually the power nap that got the better results. So, instead of just grabbing another espresso, or an energy drink, maybe just sitting back and allowing your mind and your body to relax could be just the thing for you.
When know that when you power nap it can also help you with creative problem-solving, ’cause it gets your mind to relax. How often have you struggled with a solution and done something different like maybe gone for a run or taken a shower or just disengaged and then come up with the solution? We know that power napping can help improve your mood, it can help you feel more energized, and instead of using food to energize you, it can help you to avoid cravings, it reduces your stress, and long-term it could help you manage your weight. So there’s a lot of reason why we should power nap.
So let’s get into the, okay, how do I actually do this? The first thing is to give yourself permission to relax. The next thing is to always set an alarm for 25 or 30 minutes at most, ’cause you don’t want to end up falling asleep and then going into a deep, deep sleep and waking up and just feeling more grog-groggy. So set your alarm, silence your notifications on your phone, and sit back and relax. Lie down if you are able to do that. If you can, maybe put an eye patch on or some sunglasses. I have done that at my desk before. You could also use earphones or just put in some soft music.
Then, the important thing is to allow yourself to relax. And what helps here is to slow down your breathing and to perhaps do a progressive relaxation. So a progressive relaxation is where you progressively work from your head to your toe and allow your body to relax. You may or may not doze off into a power nap. I sometimes struggle to actually fall asleep but I just do the progressive relation anyway, and I might do it two or three times and if my alarm goes off, I get up and carry on.
So don’t chastise yourself or feel bad if you don’t fall asleep. That’s exactly the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve. We’re trying to do something really mentally good for ourselves and make us feel more energized and well.
So why don’t we try? You’re spending the time listening to this podcast now. I’m assuming that you’re not driving. If you are, please do not close your eyes and do the progressive relaxation. But let’s try this together.
So allow your eyes to either soften their focus, maybe looking down. If you’re happy to, you can actually close your eyes. Take a deep, slow breath and as you exhale, imagine your scalp softening, as if it was honey melting. Take another deep breath and as you exhale, allow any tension from your forehead and across your face to just relax and melt down. Soften your jaw. We carry a lot of tension in our jaw, so allow your jaw to soften and ease any tension. Move down from your neck and as you reach your shoulders allow your shoulders to feel heavy. Let your shoulders melt into your chest. As you move through your chest and your lungs, take a deep, slower breath in and gently control the exhale, imagining your hips feeling heavy and dropping down into the chair or if you’re lying on a couch or a bed, falling down towards the ground.
Imagine your hips, the tops of your thighs, your knees, feeling heavy. Imagine any tension in your calves dropping down into your feet and then from your feet, any last amount of tension or stress falling through your feet, down into the ground.
And that was one round of what we call a progressive relaxation. You could then repeat that, if you’re not yet into your power nap. And once your alarm goes off, to then gently move your body, take a few deep breaths, maybe stretch, and then carry on with your task or your work or go to your next meeting.
I can’t begin to express what a brilliant strategy power napping can be as part of your resilient tool kit. Today we need to think creatively and out of the box. We need to challenge ourselves, we need to allow our minds to disconnect in order to get everything done that we need to do and power naps are really a wonderful way to do that.
And remember, even if you don’t actually nap, the fact that you’re disengaging, focusing on your breath, allowing your mind a quick break, can help you to come back and get more done. So very powerful in terms of helping you to stay on your A game.
If you enjoyed this podcast, please let us know how we’re doing. Rate and review the podcast. Share it with others, with anybody who you think could do with power napping and the benefits thereof. And if you’d like to contact me, you can do so on Twitter using @celynn. C-E-L-Y double N. Or on Instagram using resilientenergy. Thanks for listening and learning.
If you missed any of the podcasts, there were five in the series. Visit Apexhotels.co.uk/warmerwelcome, and here’s to you feeling rejuvenated, being able to focus and relax wherever you are, at home or on the go.