How to Make Power Napping Easier Using Your Smartphone
Believe it or not, taking a mid-afternoon nap is not only a beneficial habit for young children and the elderly. Although most adults, particularly people of working age, struggle to find the opportunity for a nap during a typical day, it might be time to consider a short siesta for your health with help from these tech tools.
Is Taking a Power Nap Really Good for Your Health?
The health benefits of getting adequate sleep at night are well-known. Research published in Sleep Medicine suggests that a midday power nap, or siesta, actually offers a variety of benefits as well: it can reduce stress, improve cognitive functioning, and even increase your level of alertness. And since many people experience a natural drowsy period about eight hours after waking, a short power nap of around 20 minutes can reap restorative benefits for the rest of the day. Here’s how to get the most out of your power nap.
1. Set a Nap Reminder
The first step is to remember to schedule some time for your nap. Building it into your routine makes it far more likely that you’ll prioritize it. If you’re an iPhone user, this is a simple process. You can use the built-in Reminders app on your iPhone to prompt you to take a break. Set a reminder, get on with your day, and receive a notification when it’s time for your lie-down.
2. Switch Off Notifications Using Focus Mode
The next step is to ensure you’re not interrupted. Again, iOS users have the perfect tool to hand. Set up a custom Focus Mode to ensure that your iPhone will not disturb you in any way during your scheduled nap time. You can customize every element of an Apple Focus mode, from duration and automatic triggers to which notifications are allowed on an app-by-app basis. So, for example, if you want to silence everything except calls from one specific person during your shut-eye, a Focus Mode is perfect for your needs.
3. Play Sleep Sounds With an App
Your nap time is valuable, and you want to relax and nod off quickly. Fortunately, there are lots of great soundscape apps that can help you relax and get to sleep. Pop on some headphones and listen to nature sounds using an app like Wild Journey Nature Sounds, which will immerse you in beautiful ambient nature sounds and even allow you to mix your own soundscape.
Download: Wild Journey Nature Sounds for iOS (Free, subscription available)
4. Use a Smart Sleep Mask
If you find it challenging to get to sleep during daylight hours, your afternoon nap time could easily be disturbed. You could solve this problem with a smart sleep mask to block out light and help you easily access calming music or sleep sounds. The Lightimetunnel Bluetooth Wireless 3D Eye Mask provides 12 hours of playback from a full charge while blocking 100 percent of all light, giving you a cocoon from the busy world that’ll help you relax fully.
5. Use Sleep Tracking to See How Well You Slept
With a smartwatch or an app to track your sleep, you’ll be able to see how effective your nap was. The best apps can even show which sleep cycles you reach and will try to wake you up again during the lightest sleep phase to help you feel refreshed. Waking up during the deepest phase of your sleep cycle makes you feel groggy.
Sleep Cycle for both iOS and Android is a reliable way not only to track your sleep but also to make sure you wake up again in time to get back to the rest of the day’s activities, as you can use the built-in alarm to avoid oversleeping.
Download: Sleep Cycle for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)
6. Take a Mindful Moment When You Wake Up
Of course, it’s difficult to go from sleeping right back into your day’s activities. When you wake up, take a moment to adjust and prepare for action before you move. You could do a few breathing exercises using an app. Even better, take a moment of mindfulness using a meditation app.
Insight Timer offers an ideal solution with its wide range of short meditations. You can select from programs as short as one or two minutes in duration, making it the perfect transition activity before you get back out into the world.
Download: Insight Timer for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)
Feel the Restorative Benefits of a Power Nap
Once you’ve taken your short nap, you’ll be energized and ready to face whatever the world throws at you for the rest of the day. And even if you find it hard to switch off and sleep properly at first, any rest period when you close your eyes and relax a little is great for reducing stress and restoring energy. A short nap could be a great way to beat that mid-afternoon energy slump.