When an elderly person grows weary, he or she simply nods off in the middle of a visit or the middle of a sentence. Doesn’t matter where. Doesn’t matter when.
As for the rest of us somewhere between toddlering and doddering, when we grow weary, we shake the cobwebs from our heads, grab another cuppa java, and will ourselves to wakefulness.
We power on. We don’t power down. Pressing …pressing …and rarely pausing. Because, after all there are important places to go, people to see, and things to do.
Sadly, this ends up working against us instead of for us. While we may be nominally awake and at work – it is with diminishing capacity and diminishing returns! That’s why, in a wearied state, so many things feel tougher and take longer. We’re neither fresh nor focused.
Now I’m not suggesting nodding off in a middle of a business meeting would be a good thing. However, I am suggesting that ignoring the body when it calls for rest can be a bad thing.
A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%. Although you and I may not be flying jets or spacecraft, how much more effective might we be if our performance and alertness improved that much because we took a rest when we needed one?
Action: What to do? Whenever possible, answer your body’s call for short-term rest.
On the road? Pull your vehicle onto a side road, flip back the driver’s seat and take 10.
At home? Drop into the recliner, flip up the footrest, and close those baby blues for 20.
At work? It’s not always so easy. Although you could try a George Costanza! Remember the Seinfeld episode where he built a platform in the kneehole under his desk for mid-day naps?
Perhaps George was ahead of his time. Forward thinking workplaces are setting up spaces known as Quiet Rooms, Nap Rooms or Rejuvenation Centers where employees can stretch out on a mat or lean back in an easy chair to make a mid day investment in rejuvenation.
Some variation on this might be possible or may already exist in your workplace. I do recall that vintage ladies’ restrooms often featured a small side room with a couch. Apparently they, too, were ahead of their time.
Keep your naps on the shorter side. Aim for 10-20 minutes. A recent study in the research journal Sleep showed that a 10-minute nap produced the most benefit in terms of reduced sleepiness and improved mental performance, while a nap lasting 30 minutes or longer is more likely to create post sleep grogginess.
A mid-day nap is a small investment of time that can yield a major boost in clear thinking and energetic action.
Quote Of The Week: If we want to live a wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating rest and play, and we must work to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth. – Brene Brown
Resource Of The Week: For more information, see the National Sleep Foundation article on Napping Types, Tips, Benefits & Effects.
You may also be interested in this Chris Adams article on How To Take A Power Nap.