For difficult problems1 I have used naps at home and work to recharge quickly or to temporarily alter my information processing mode2.
When to power nap:
- When feeling mentally fuzzy.
- When slightly tired but still there is more that must be done before sleep.
How to power nap:
- Find a comfortable position. Ensure it is materially different than a regular sleeping position, to avoid accidentally sleeping vs napping. (For example at home, I like to nap on my bed with TWO pillows rather than the usual one, plus a partial prop of my legs up by moving the duvet cover halfway down.)
- Eliminate most light, but not all light, again to distinguish from sleep. A face mask, shirt mask, or beanie pulled over the eyes works well for this.
- Set a timer. I usually use about 12 minutes.
- Try to spread out limbs a bit so they aren’t touching. (This avoids unintentional clenching and bracing, which can be physically draining.) Uncross legs. Separate arms from core.
- Disconnect from muscles. Easiest to do this in a wave, starting from toes and moving in a scan up to head. Disconnecting from neck and above seems to always be the hardest. Sink into the earth.
- Partial disconnect from thoughts. You are now napping.
- Nap timer goes off.
- If warm up period desired (which is recommended), set a new short timer. Maybe 5 minutes long. Remove light filter. Partial reconnect to muscles. Full reconnect to thoughts.
- Warm up timer goes off.
- Stand up. Nap time is over.