003: The Perfect Power Nap

003: The Perfect Power Nap

Want to increase your productivity and focus? A power nap might be just what you need! Learn all you need to know about power nap in this podcast episode 3.


00:00 Podcast intro
00:45 Episode summary
01:10 What's a power nap
02:25 NASA about power naps
04:00 Planning a perfect power nap
06:44 Few techniques to help you nap better
09:22 Potential drawbacks of napping
12:04 Examples of successful power nappers
14:23 Actions you can take for better naps

Podcast Description

Welcome to the Work Hard Sleep Well Podcast with Kris Nowak, where we explore the million dollar question - how can we optimize our sleep for maximum performance, productivity, and success in our busy lives as entrepreneurs and working professionals? Join me as I document my journey of discovery in real time and share practical tips and tricks from successful entrepreneurs, working professionals and sleep doctors to help you achieve the best sleep possible.

As we explore different sleeping schedules, proven tricks, and changing relationships with sleep over time, this podcast is tailored for entrepreneurs and working professionals who want to improve their sleep quality, increase productivity, and perform at their best. We understand that you have a lot on your plate, and our aim is to help you manage stress and achieve a better work-life balance.

Through interviews with successful entrepreneurs and sleep experts, we provide unique insights and perspectives on sleep and rest, with a focus on productivity and performance. You can look forward to hearing from a diverse range of guests and answering intriguing questions that you won't find elsewhere. Join us on this journey to discover the secrets to unlocking your true potential through restful sleep.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Work Hard Sleep Well Podcast with Kris Nowak, where we explore the million dollar question - how can we optimize our sleep for maximum performance, productivity, and success in our busy lives as entrepreneurs and working professionals? Join me as I document my journey of discovery in real time and share practical tips and tricks from successful entrepreneurs, working professionals and sleep doctors to help you achieve the best sleep possible.

So welcome to episode three, the perfect power nap. I'm your host Kris Nowak, and I'm going to get into this right away. So today I'm going to talk about: I will define what a power nap is, its benefits. I will talk about what NASA says about power naps, and I will discuss how to get a perfect power nap, the potential drawbacks to consider when it comes to napping. And I'll give some examples of very successful entrepreneurs that utilize power naps.

So power nap is a short period of sleep taken during the day, typically between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on where you look at it, the different sources provide different kind of information. And it's meant to refresh you, give you an energy boost, enhance your alertness, cognitive function, memory and creativity. It can also improve your mood and give you a better outlook on things. And so power nap is different.

from a regular nap in a way that it's typically shorter, so it doesn't allow you to enter into that deep sleep.

Sometimes when you power nap or just like nap in general, you may feel that like you literally just close your eyes and you know, like you're not really falling asleep. But I think if you approach it from a mentality that even if you do that, even if you don't fall asleep, it still gives you most of the benefits because you silent your thoughts, you isolate, you know, like your environment and you just give yourself a moment to rest.

So even if you don't fall asleep, I think it still has a lot of different benefits for you.

Okay, so NASA recognizes the benefits of power naps and they have conducted research on sleep and its impact on performance, particularly in the context of astronauts and mission control personnel. So NASA understands that short naps can be effective in enhancing alertness, cognitive function, overall performance, especially during periods of extended week.

wakefulness or when working in high pressure environments. Okay. So NASA's research has shown that power naps around 20 to 30 minutes can significantly improve cognitive performance reaction time and vigilance. Okay. And they can help individuals combat fatigue, increase alertness restore energy levels. So naps can be particularly valuable for individuals.

working in situations that demand sustained focus and high levels of performance, such as astronauts during space missions or professionals working on critical tasks. So obviously, you know, like we're not really talking about astronauts application. That's a very extreme example of it. But I think if NASA recognizes the importance of naps and sleep in general,

and they've done research to prove it and explore it, and we can apply it as entrepreneurs and working professionals to increase our performance. Okay, so in order to plan a perfect Powernap, these are the things you kind of want to consider, okay? You want to make sure that you won't be disturbed, first of all, you know, just reserve a time slot in your calendar for Powernap and silence your phone.

Cause there's in my experience, there's nothing worse than like you want to have a power nap and then, you know, like somebody is calling you or they're like, no, it's just something that's like disturbing you. So, you know, first things first, take care of that.

And so the environment, in terms of the environment for a perfect nap, an ideal environment would likely be the same as the environment like you sleep in at night. So cooler is better, generally speaking, because when you fall asleep, your body needs to drop its body temperature so you can fall asleep, right? So if you're sleeping in a room that's hotter, it's warmer, then it's going to make it harder for you to fall asleep.

So generally speaking, when it comes to falling asleep, it's better to be in a room that's cooler. And then other things here is like, you wanna have a room that's dark and quiet and you want to have a comfortable environment where you sleep on, okay? Ideally, a place like a couch or your bed would be most ideal, but realistically, depending on where you work and where you need to nap, this may not be available, right?

Some field conditions, I've seen people nap in, literally just like over your desk. I've seen people take a quick nap over their desk, literally even in a chair. I've seen people nap on the floor before, at the airports, on the mats. So, you just make the best of what you have available. Ideally, yes, it's a couch or a bed, but if that's not available, that's fine. So a couple of things that can actually help you nap better.

is wearing a sleep mask and earplugs in my experience. You know, wearing a cloudy, 100% blackout sleep mask is going to create a fully darkness-like environment, which will help ease your body into falling asleep. And same with the earplugs, in my experience, you know, when I try to nap and I hear like a train outside of the window or just like cars honking,

or some other noises, it makes it very hard for me to sleep, to nap, and it can disturb my power nap. So I personally really like to use sleep mask and earplugs to help me nap better.

And so next few techniques to help you ease into a power nap. So first one is breathing exercise called four, seven, eight breathing method. Okay, so you start with, you let your lips part slightly and make a whooshing sound as you exhale through your mouth. So something like, right? And then you close your lips and inhale silently through your nose and you count to four in your head.

Then you hold your breath for seven seconds. And after seven seconds passes, you exhale with a whoosh sound again for eight seconds, right?

And you want to avoid being too alert at the end of each cycle when you do that. And so just try to practice it mindlessly. So it just flows without, you know, trying to really think too much about it. You can complete this cycle for four full breaths and let your body sleep. If you feel relaxation coming on earlier than anticipated, you know, if, if you're already feeling that like you're drifting away, just let it drift away. Don't force yourself to continue on doing this exercise.

So that's one of them. And there's so many different breathing methods that you could utilize here. That's just an example that I've heard and I used before and I found it working for me. So I wanted to share it. Another thing you could do is a relaxation technique. And this is a one relaxation technique for my military to help you fall asleep fast anywhere that I learned somewhere before. Okay, so basically you want to visualize that you're on a vacation, you know, you're in a hammock.

on a beach, overlooking ocean, you're listening to the waves break on the shore, the wind is blowing on the leaves, you get the picture, right? And you wanna visualize that and feel, literally like feel being there, you feel being there, and then you focus on breathing in and out slowly, and as you actually like feel being in that place, it's going to help you fall asleep. Lastly, guided meditation.

There are so many different options here. There's so many different channels that you could explore on Spotify, YouTubes, or even apps like Headspace. I've used Headspace before. I found it being very valuable. But there's so many different options. You may want to explore and see what works for you. Other people, they literally just also use earplugs.

Okay, so potential drawbacks of power naps. One of them is sleep inertia. So the groggy feeling upon waking. And this apparently happens when you have accumulated sleep debt. And so when you try to nap, your body is entering into that deep sleep right away. Right? So when you suffer from this, you want to ask yourself whether you're actually sleeping enough for your needs, right? And in my previous episode, one of my previous episodes,

I talk about how many hours does entrepreneurs sleep and was the recommended amount of hours to sleep per night and all of that stuff. So you may want to check it out, but generally like how much you sleep should be based on your lifestyle, your genetics, your activity level and so on, which may be different for different people. Right. But if you nap and you suffer for that from after waking up, you feel groggy, you don't really, you know, like you feel like you don't really know where you are almost like.

it's possible that you're not sleeping enough. So you may have sleep debt accumulated. So you may wanna look into that. Another thing is difficulty falling asleep at night. In my personal experience, this happens when you try to nap too late in the day. If it happens to you, you may wanna consider moving your naps earlier in the day. As a general rule of thumb for me, I don't really nap past 2 p.m. So I've tested this a little bit and I feel

If I nap past 2 p.m., then it's kind of causing me problems to sleep at night and whatnot, right? So even though it may feel tempting, if then like I won't be able to sleep at night, I don't really see a point. But it may be different for everybody. So just test this and see how it works for you. And so lastly, disrupting regular sleep patterns. So this is very interesting. And while like regular napping,

may not be a problem for some people, it could be for others, right? And so like as anything sleep related, sleep is very personal. So it's best to test things, you know, ideally test it in a way where you organize your thoughts, almost like you're conducting a experiment, you know, you're taking notes, you're separating individual variables so you can actually identify what's causing a problem for you.

and you can change it, right? You can evaluate your notes like that and make an informed decision afterwards whether something is working for you or not. And if it's not working, you change it. If it's working well for you, don't change it. Just continue on doing it, right?

Okay, so some case studies, examples of very successful entrepreneurs that actually utilize power naps. So first of all, Elon Musk, I think everybody knows who Elon Musk is. Maybe if you've been living under the rock, you don't know who he is. He's the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. And now he also owns Twitter. And he's known to be taking power naps actually, during intense work periods.

And he has mentioned in the interviews in the past that he sometimes takes brief naps to recharge and optimize his performance. Okay. Another example, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Okay. And so he has spoken that he also uses power naps. And Bezos repeatedly has mentioned that he takes short naps to maintain his energy levels and improve his decision making. And then lastly...

That's a bit of a different example. It's Thomas Edison and he practiced a sleep schedule known as Edisonian method or biphasic sleep pattern. Okay, so it's a bit extreme, but I'm gonna share it anyway. He would take short naps throughout the day and night. So he would total like his sleep to around three to four hours of sleep in 24 hour period. So this is really extreme. I'm not sure this is going to work for most people. You could try it if you wanted to.

But so he would, he believed that by doing this, he would maximize his waking hours and his creativity. Okay. And, um, his dedication to napping was, was well known and he often credited these short periods of rest, uh, when enhancing his work and ideas. So he, he, he credited taking naps as, you know, like he would take a nap and he drifts into that.

subconsciousness where his subconscious mind is taking over and he would credit that to getting all these different ideas that he was responsible for and you know, he created so many different patents and products. So that's something to think about as well, right? Okay, and so in terms of the actions that you could do, okay, so you could try incorporating power naps into your workday.

if you haven't done that yet, especially in my experience when you had a worse sleep in the night before or when you have a lot to do during the day to give you like a refresh and an energy boost, like a mood boost and these other benefits I mentioned earlier. Okay. And, you know, I personally wouldn't recommend force napping every single day unless it's really working for you. I would not, you know, maybe.

It's not really like consistent for me. When I feel like I need a nap on a certain day, I do it. I don't force myself to take a nap every single day just because I'm forced napping myself. No, I would only nap when I actually feel that I need to take a nap, right? And another thing you could do is to get your Dark and Quiet bundle, which is Sonos Sleep Mask and Premium Earplugs from Sleeper Low. No, they're designed to provide you with a perfect sleeping environment.

so you can get your best sleep and naps possible. I personally always use these accessories and I created them with comfort in mind and I can't imagine sleeping without them or napping without them anymore at this point. Okay, so that was it for episode three. I hope that I provided you with some valuable information and I will see you in the next episode.


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