Sleep. It’s one of the most discussed, contemplated and sought after things in existence – mainly because the majority aren’t getting enough of it. Busy lives, smart devices and addictive boxsets on Netflix all have a negative impact on the amount of shut-eye we’re getting, as it falls lower and lower down our list of priorities. It’s recommended we get between seven and nine hours snooze every night in order to recharge, re-energize and re-focus our minds and bodies, and so it’s no surprise that if we’re getting significantly less that we definitely feel it the next day. I’m super effected by lack of sleep (and I always have been) and often feel myself snacking, lacking concentration and generally being less productive if I’ve found myself wide awake in the middle of the night – but is a napping the answer? Does a power nap actually work, or is it actually counterproductive?
Surprisingly naps are actually medically recommended and the subject of hundreds (if not thousands) of clinical studies. Humans are actually one of very few mammals that only sleep once a day, which makes you wonder if it’s always been that way: were we actually designed to take a power nap in the middle of the day so we could be awake and fight off Woolly Mammoths?! Who knows, but lack of sleep definitely is a modern day problem that impacts us all – and one we’re all fascinated in finding the solution for.
What’s really interesting is that power naps are not only said to alleviate that sleep deficit, but boost our brain performace too; a quick snooze has been proven to improve creative problem solving, verbal memory, logical reasoning, reaction times and symbol recognition. Naps can not only help to improve our mood, it’s also said they’re good for our heart, blood pressure, stress levels and even weight management. So why aren’t we all getting in on the napping action?
While studying I was a huge fan of a mid-afternoon power nap, or having a quick snooze between my day job in a shop and my evening job in a bar; an hour was all I needed to make a big difference, and I carried this forward into my twenties (mainly when I was hungover / burning the candle at both ends.) Even though I work from home and could get away with having a quick snooze pretty much every day, it’s not something I’ve adopted in my thirties and could probably count on my hands how many naps I’ve had in the last few years. But maybe I should!
With an increasing amount of shift work, freelancers and busy parents juggling everything life throws at them, a quick power nap could be all we need to ensure we’re refreshed and alert, ready to face the day (or night) ahead. This Works certainly thinks so, as they’ve just launched their Sleep Power Nap Spray and Sleep Power Recharge Mask to make the most of every moment of shut-eye – whenever you take it.
I’m already a huge fan of the cult This Works Pillow Spray, which helps me drift off to sleep like no other; Sleep Power Nap Spray is an extension of that, offering the same aromatherapeutic blend of Lavender, Vetivert and Camomile. (In fact, the ingredient list appears to be exactly the same – marketing spins at their best!) It’s fast acting and gets you in the mood for a snooze, making it a great way to power nap either at home or on the move; the mini size bottles are perfect for popping in your bag or taking on a plane, ensuring you can take a re-energizing power nap whenever the need arises.
Simply spritz a little on your pillow or blanket, get comfy and shut your eyes before breathing deeply to make the most of those relaxing and invigorating scents… (And you won’t be asking yourself ‘does a power nap actually work’ anymore!)
Additionally the Sleep Power Recharge Mask is a rather interesting way to boost the look and feel of your skin while you take a quick snooze: containing a dose of plumping Hyaluronic Acid, resurfacing Multifruit Acids to recharge skin, Prickly Pear extract and Amino Acids to smoothen and brighten, plus detoxifying Kaolin Clay, the result is a quick pick-me-up when you’re feeling like skin is dull and lacklustre. Probably not practical for the majority of us in the middle of the day, but I can see how this is perfect for when you’re knackered but need a quick nap before you hit the tiles on a Friday night; if only this existed ten years ago when that was pretty much a weekly occurrence.
It’s just as good to use while you have a proper overnight kip, or even as a little nighttime face mask when you’ve been taking on too much and are seeing it in your complexion. Nothing will take the place of those essential hours between the sheets, but it’s always good to have a few products up your sleeve to help you along your way. So if you’re keen to get in on the napping action when you’re feeling a bit lethargic, what’s the best way to do it to ensure maximum benefit?
A few simple rules will ensure you awake refreshed every time…
You should limit a nap to around 25 minutes, preventing you from slipping into a deep sleep which will only leave you feeling more knackered; alternatively opt for a full sleep cycle of around 90 minutes, setting an alarm to ensure you don’t interrupt your evening slumber. Try not to nap after 4pm (as it’ll impact the quality of your sleep if you’re not planning to stay up longer than usual,) and for an extra energy boost drink a cup of coffee before your nap so you’ll get the benefit of the caffeine when you wake up 20 minutes later.
So does a power nap actually work? I’m off for a quick snooze, all in the name of research…
The This Works Sleep Power Nap Spray (£28.00) and Sleep Power Recharge Mask (£32.00) is available now online and in stores. Get the original This Works Pillow Spray (£26.00) in all the usual places too.
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