I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate feeling tired and sluggish. As someone who works with clients on performance optimization all the time, I often talk about the power of naps and the importance of sleep. Research consistently shows that getting enough sleep is crucial for refreshing our brains and restoring our energy.

One topic that’s often overlooked is power napping. A 2022 study published in Science Advances found that power naps not only boost our mood but also enhance memory, vigilance, information processing speed, and other executive functions.

Here’s the key to a great power nap: wake up just as your mind begins to drift into a daydream-like state, which happens in about 20-30 minutes. Sleep longer, say 60-90 minutes, and you risk waking up feeling groggier.

What’s happening in your brain during this time? When you’re highly focused on work, you’re using your brain’s Central Executive Network, located just above your eyes. When this area gets exhausted, your brain’s Default Network, the imagination center, takes over, leading to daydreaming and creative problem-solving. For optimal neurological and psychological balance, your brain needs to switch between these networks frequently. However, many of us have been conditioned to stay highly focused for hours, resulting in burnout.

A simple and effective solution? Take a daydreaming break for 1-3 minutes every hour. Set a reminder on your phone or computer to ring every 40-60 minutes. When it does, lean back, let your mind wander, and maybe repeat a stress-reducing mantra like “peace” or “love.” After 1-3 minutes, open your eyes and do three mindful yawns to refocus. This will refresh you and improve your focus and work quality.

For an even quicker reset, try 10 seconds of mindfulness 2-3 times an hour. Set a timer to ring every 20-30 minutes, close your eyes, do a mindful yawn and stretch, then get back to work. If you have 30-60 seconds, observe the changing thoughts and feelings in your mind. This will help balance your brain networks and keep you sharp.

Give these techniques a try and notice the difference in your energy and productivity!