Have you ever been so tired that you decided to take a short nap in the middle of the day only to wake up feeling lazier, more sluggish and downright cranky? That’s probably happened to all of us a couple of times. It may seem like napping is nothing short of a gamble but the reality it, there is an art to napping and we’ve all been napping wrong.

So, here it is. The recipe to a perfect 20-minute nap. Once you perfect this, you will never have to get through the day on less than optimal energy – no matter what your routine.

Step 1: Get all the essentials

Make sure you’ve got all the essentials required for your nap. That means you need to grab your pillow, that blanket you can’t fall asleep without, your headphones and, of course, your phone.

Step 2: Choose the right time

According to extensive research done on sleep, it appears that the best time to nap is between 1 – 3 pm because our bodies are naturally hardwired to feel sleepiest around this time. In tune with the circadian rhythm, human beings experience intense sleepiness twice within 24 hours: once between 1 pm – 3 pm and once between 2 am – 4 am. Therefore, its best to follow your body’s natural rhythm and take that nap during these two hours.

Step 3: Set the Environment

If you are one of those people who find it difficult to fall asleep during the day, you just need to give yourself the right environment. That means finding a room with minimal noise, very little light and the perfect temperature.

It may be difficult to find such a place if you are in office at the time. There’s a solution for that as well. Plug in your headphones and put on a soothing soundtrack to cancel out all the other noise and simply cover your eyes with an eye mask to make it darker. It is best to take your nap lying down but if that’s not possible, ensure you are in a reclining position – as much as possible.

Step 4: Set an Alarm

It is extremely important to set an alarm for yourself. The twenty-minute nap only works if it is actually twenty minutes long. Staying asleep for longer may result in waking up groggy and disoriented which completely defeats the purpose of a nap.

Beat that Afternoon Slump

Sometimes we avoid a nap in the afternoon because we are terrified of that afternoon slump, or simply can’t afford that. There’s a very easy solution to that - drink a cup of coffee before your nap. Caffeine takes approximately 20 minutes to kick in and begin to take effect. This way, the caffeine will kick start your system right as you’re waking up so by the time you open your eyes, you’ll feel like you can conquer the world. That’s how you beat that afternoon slump!

The twenty-minute nap is an art and it takes practice. So, make sure you get your body used to it by practicing it regularly. Eventually, you will start to wake up in twenty minutes without the help of your alarm and you will notice significant increase in your productivity throughout the day!