Brain Tool #14: Rockin' Power Nap

Play Daily With These Steps to Boost Your Brain:

To prepare for your “Rockin’ Power Nap”: First, set your alarm clock (see notes below for a duration that works best for you), darken the room, and grab a blanket. Power naps are best taken between 1pm-3pm.

1. In a reclining position, or lying upright in a bed or “recliner” — initiate a deep, slow abdominal breath
2. Feel the legs and arms grow “heavy” as you close your eyes, direct the eyes downward
3. Clasp the hands gently, palms up, with the left palm resting in the right palm
4. Inhale deeply and slowly on a count of 1-2-3 followed by a deep, slow exhale on a count of 3-2-1
5. Continue with the inhale/exhale count of 3 sequence as you allow the head to gently sway from side to side. You may choose to synchronize each sway to your counting/breath sequence.
6. Allow your mental focus to follow the s-l-o-w count of 1-2-3 and 3-2-1 as you breath
7.  Repeat steps 5-6 until you gently “nod off”. You may also use this audio version to assist you: Guided Meditation for Nap Time
8. Move into a fully reclining position and take your power nap!

Rockin’ Power Nap Variations to Develop Flexible Thinking:

1. Use steps 1-7 prior to your night’s sleep
2. Use steps 1-7 as you listen to recorded or live nature sounds
3. Practice steps 1-7 with children to ease them into nap time
4. Use steps 1-7 while resting in a hammock
5. Replace your afternoon coffee run with a “Rockin’ Power Nap”!

What’s Unique About This Brain Tool:

1. Power naps are associated with longevity, increased energy and a reduction in heart disease
2. Power naps actually INCREASE productivity NOT decrease!
3. Power naps can be used to treat sleep deprivation and insomnia
4. *Power naps of various lengths support various types of thinking:
a. 15-20 minute naps are good for alertness and motor learning skills (i.e. keyboard skills, instrument practice, sports)
b. 20-30 minute naps are good for creativity and memory
c. 30-60 minute naps are good for decision-making, memorizing, or recalling directions
d. 60-90 minute naps (REM) are good for solving creative problems
*Credit: Take a Nap! Change Your Life, by Sara C. Mednick, PhD