How To Nap Like A Pro (Even On Your Lunch Break!)

Our last blog post touted the benefits of taking a nap and gave suggestions for how long your power nap should last.  While a quick 15 minute siesta can do great things for your body and mind, making it happen in the real world sometimes takes a little creative thinking.  Here are some ideas for making your ultimate daytime nap happen, even when it seems impossible.

Find Peace & Quiet

To nap like a pro, you need to treat yourself like a two year old at day care.

You need a calm, quiet place, ideally with enough room to lie down uninterrupted, where nap on park benchyour body has permission to shut down for a few minutes. Where that will be is up to you and your circumstances. Color outside the lines if necessary. If you work during the day, a parked car, office you can lock, or even the space under your desk might do the trick. Some people instantly relax and can fall asleep outside. If weather permits, grab a blanket, find a shady spot and relax.

Set The Mood & An Alarm

If you are able, dedicate a time (again, during that afternoon energy slump is ideal) so you can get into a routine that allows you to fall asleep quickly.

After that, it’s all about the ambiance. Lower the lights to the extent you can (close the shades or the sunroof, invest in a windshield blocker or wear an eye mask) and set an alarm so your boss doesn’t come looking for you 2 hours later.  If you are not sure how long to snooze, check our previous post for suggestions.

The Art of the Car Nap

Sometimes, it’s just not going to happen in your place of work.  In this instance, your automobile can be your safe haven for sleep.  If you are napping in your car, take a few extra precautions:

  • For quiet’s sake, park in a lonely spot away from the ebb and flow of traffic: if its far away, you will also earn bonus exercise credit trekking the distance to and from your car.
  • If you’re lucky enough to be a mini van owner, crawl into the back seat, lie down and get comfy.
  • Only have two seats? You can still make it work: recline your seat and put up a windshield blocker to fulfill a dual role: block light and deter nosey peeps from peering inside the car to see what you’re doing. That can get awkward.
  • If you are too self-conscious parking near work (or people), leave. Find a nearby park (better for finding shade – especially if its hot outside – and don’t forget to crack open the windows), trail head or edge of a giant parking lot where you might find solitude.

Let It Be Lavish

Whether you are napping in an office, on a park bench, in a car, or under tree, wherever you end up, make it an experience. Let yourself do things you wouldn’t normally do at work to signal to your body a change in mental and physical direction.

  • Kick off your shoes and wiggle your toes.
  • Pull out the lavender scented eye mask you keep stashed in the glove box.
  • Grab the fluffy pillow you keep under your desk.
  • Pull a blanket up under your chin.
  • Take a few deep breaths before you nod off to calm your nervous system.
  • Have a glass of warm milk if it helps.

How can the next minutes not feel luxurious?

It’s Not An Excuse To Skimp On Real Sleep

Be warned though – naps don’t make you invincible and they are not a substitute for real continuous sleep.  They are not a crutch that allows you to stay up all night like some nocturnal animal.  Think of napping as an extra bonus when you need a lift:

  • Up all night? Recover from a sleep-deprived night spent with small children.
  • Got a big presentation or sales demo coming up? Catching some zzz’s before hand could increase chances of a successful performance.
  • Jet lagged? Naps may help you get your groove back after taking a red-eye flight for business.
  • Trying to solve a problem and getting no where?  See if a little nap refresh provides some insight or inspiration.

A good power nap will give you a short-term boost and get you through that marathon work-day or big presentation but there is no substitute for regular, good old fashioned 8 hours of sleep. Deep sleep attained consistently night after night should still be your priority and number one goal.

38 thoughts on “How To Nap Like A Pro (Even On Your Lunch Break!)

  1. I love my power naps it gets me through the rest of the day. It’s also better than a energy drink.

      1. Totally. Sometimes you just get so relaxed and cozied up, it’s hard to get motivated to move again! Gotta work on more quality night time sleep as well… 😉

  2. Maybe this is all I need to make my days better a quick little power nap to save my day.

    1. It can’t hurt to give it a try (unless you nap too long and wake up more tired than you were before you laid down…) Let us know if it works for you!

  3. Sometimes I just kick back my head on my chair while at my work desk and play shut eyes for 10 minutes. It works like a charm as long as the phone doesn’t ring! Great article.

  4. according to what I’ve read about Circadian Rythms our body will respond best to naps in the 15 minute, or 2 hour increment anything else is detrimental

  5. I wish I could take naps at work. My mind stays focused on, “what if I don’t hear my alarm?” It’s the same alarm I use at home every day. My phone…

    1. Yes Bonnie, I understand. Having your boss come track you down would be very embarrassing… Maybe consider Money’s approach and instead of a nap, find a quiet place to escape for a few minutes and simply take a few deep inhales and exhales. We so rarely pay attention to our breath. Breathing shallowly means we are only exchanging a small percentage of air in our lungs. A few deep breaths can infuse more oxygen into your lungs and be very rejuvenating for body and mind!

  6. I believe there are different versions of a power nap. One alternative might be to breathe in deeply and release air slowly. I often think we forgot how important mindful breathing can be. My yoga teacher tought me about this idea.

  7. I totally believe in power naps, I try to get one in every lunch break, its amazing how much good 45 minutes of relaxation does.

  8. There is nothing better than a power nap at lunch. I have one atleast a couple times a week. I just lay my head on the lunch room table, set my phone alarm and dose off for about 15 minutes. Yes, everyone is used to seeing me napping on the lunch room table!! haha

    1. Bummer Becca. But that’s okay. Naps are not required to get through the day. There are lots of other options for getting through an afternoon slump. A nice walk outside to get some blood flowing to the brain comes to mind. 🙂

  9. I love a good nap, I look forward to a nap on Sunday after church. It’s so nice!

  10. I look forward to naps at services, at least until my wife pokes me in the ribs.

  11. Tried to take a nap the other day, but failed – need to get rid of my pesky kids!

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