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power nap

Whether you're sleeping off your Christmas dinner or trying to get an energy boost before a big night out, napping is a great way to recharge those batteries.

Beware though, because if you time your nap wrong or sleep for too long you could wake up feeling groggier than if you'd just stayed awake.

Beat your tiredness with these five napping tips!

1. Choose afternoons where possible
Obviously a nap is not always going to be an option in the afternoons, but daylight hours are prime napping time. The Spanish have the right idea with their siesta, as experts believe our body is programmed to have a natural afternoon slump. 

2. Plan ahead
If you know you're going to be up late working (or partying), planning a nap beforehand is a great way to improve alertness and keep you energised. Research has shown that naps of an hour or more can actually improve our brain function for up to 24 hours, even without a full night's sleep. Win!

3. Time it right
If your plan is to take a short cat nap, aim for between 10 and 20 minutes. Any longer and you'll wake up feeling groggy and fuzzy-headed, which we doubt was the aim!

4. Use caffeine to your advantage!
Downing a quick cup of coffee just before you lie down is a great way to optimise the energising effects of both caffeine and rest. A cup of coffee takes around 20 minutes to lift your energy levels, so by the time you wake up from your nap you'll be raring to go!

5. Relax your mind
If you find it impossible to drift off during the day or early evening, use meditation techniques like breathing and calming visualisations to soothe your mind. Not only will you fall asleep quicker, but you'll wake up feeling more positive and relaxed.

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If you’re putting together a proposal on why afternoon naps should be a compulsory part of your work day, you’re very lucky to have stumbled across this.

We’re paraphrasing slightly, but NASA has decreed that we must all have a short snooze during the day because naps make us better people.

Most of us have heard that naps are supposed to be beneficial and it’s been common to think this was nothing more than an urban myth.

It’s not – it’s actual, credible science.

NASA’s incredibly wise scientists put a ‘napping study’ together in which pilots were divided into two groups: a ‘resting’ group and a ‘no rest’ group.

The ‘resters’ were allowed to take a 40-minute cockpit nap at some stage during the flight, while pilots in the ‘no rest group’ weren’t – poor things.

They found that pilots who napped performed much better than those who didn’t.

So the next time somebody tells you to change your napping ways, tell them science says, “Shhhh”.

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