Working from home? How to use a power nap to boost your energy and reduce fatigue 

I remember my mum taking ’40 Winks’ each afternoon after I arrived home from school. I was full of energy and wanted to play. I could not understand why mum required some time out to rest before having to cook dinner and finish other household chores. Mum had been up since 6am, preparing breakfast, lunches, doing the dishes, washing clothes and then would stack shelves during the day and sometimes at night. 

I know now as an adult why mum required ’40 Winks’. 

During my time as a Yoga practitioner and teacher over the past 36 years and working in the health and safety industry, I have learnt to take ’40 Winks’ or what’s commonly known nowadays as a ‘Power Nap’. I call it going to ‘Paul Island’, a place where I can only go to be at peace with myself. We all have our own ‘Island’ we just need to find it and make it work. 

I developed my journey to Paul Island (Power Nap) over the years to suit my professional working and home life, mind and body. For me, 12 mins is the right amount of time to let my mind rest, to take time out from the rest of the world and recalibrate. I find it best to do this around the 2pm mark just after lunch when mental fatigue and tiredness starts to dictate my afternoon. 

What I didn’t know when mum was taking ’40 Winks’ was that she too was just stepping away from the rest of the world to rejuvenate and recalibrate her mind and body to enable her to continue being a mum. 

My Power Nap takes place generally either laying on the floor/ground or in my work vehicle with the seat reclined. I have done this sitting, however, find the reclined position more beneficial for me. 

I set my alarm for 12 mins as there are days when I just drift off from being tired. It’s ok to feel tired and set an alarm. 

I have found the breathing pattern that works for me, which I learnt through Savasana is to; 

  • Lay down or recline 
  • Feel comfortable 
  • Start with soft normal breathing through the nose 
  • Allow the clutter from the day to slowly release from the mind 
  • Eye lids are soft around the eyes 
  • Allow the eyes to roll to the back of the head 
  • As you exhale, release the hold on the shoulders and the chest and let them fall to the floor 
  • Have freedom in the jaw and release any tension 
  • Rest the tongue in the soft palate of the mouth 
  • Slow the breathing and gradually increase the length of the breadth 
  • Start to feel the breadth reaching deeper into the mind and deeper into the belly 
  • After about 5 cycles of slow breathing I change the pattern of breathing 
  • Breathe in through the nose and pause for a second at the end of the inhalation 
  • Breathe out through the nose and pause for a second at the end of the exhalation 
  • Then begin the next cycle of this pattern 
  • After about 4–5 cycles I start to feel myself drifting 
  • The key to my mindfulness is to bring myself back to ‘Paul Island’ and focus on the slowness of the breath 
  • Now I am at peace 
  • It’s ok if you find yourself drifting off to sleep 
  • Once I have finished my 12 mins, I slowly return to the rest of the world 
  • The next 10 or so mins is the time for me to adjust back to the either the workplace or whatever it was I was doing 
  • I find after about 10 mins I am rejuvenated & alive 

My afternoon has changed from one of mental fatigue & tiredness to being productive, being an active listener, providing support to others and feeling in control. 

The key to this mindfulness state is that you need to understand what your mind and body requires at those stages in the day when you hit the flat spots. Have to courage to experiment and explore to find what your need. 

Take care, stay safe and take ’40 Winks’ 

By Paul Lyndon 

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