Micro-napping is a sleep strategy that can both maximise your productivity and lead to great health and awareness benefits. Whether you’re looking to increase your abilities in the afternoons, get more work done during the day, or increase your athletic performance, a micro-nap can help you achieve your goals. It’s important to cover three things;what the micro-nap is, what it’s useful for, and how to go about planning and executing it. If you’re a newbie to daytime napping, don’t worry about specifics so much as the idea itself. The whole process of micro-napping is very simple and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.

While sleep is a complex subject that can’t be entirely covered in one article, the dynamics of sleep that effect our health and performance are relatively simple. Micro-napping is simply the act of taking advantage of our complex sleep patterns in order to produce the maximum possible sleep benefits in the shortest possible time. This is done by selectively shortening the sleep period, intensity, and energy producing abilities.

A standard micro-nap is between 20-30 minutes long, is carried out somewhere in the early afternoon, and is designed to maximise our productivity and ability to sleep later in the day. Micro-naps aren’t a complex scientific exercise performed by few people — in many countries they’re a common occurrence, including Thailand, Spain and Argentina.You’ve no doubt heard of the ’siesta’ in Spanish speaking countries. This is simply the ultra-optimised version.

In order to achieve the best effects from a micro-nap, you need to time it well and consume certain foods before napping. While nighttime sleep is assisted by consumption of proteins and fats, afternoon napping is benefited by the consumption of caffeine and sugar. This might sound counter intuitive, as caffeine is designed to keep you awake and alert, however there is fine scientific data behind this idea. When you consume caffeine, it takes around 20-30 minutes to fully take effect and influence your awareness and energy levels. By napping during this absorption period, you allow
your body to take full control and effect of the caffeine upon awakening, maximising the effect of the caffeine and sugar.

The second important factor of a micro-nap is the time allotted to it. It’s important to keep micro-naps between 20 and 30 minutes, and make sure that they don’t overrun this time restriction. When you spend more time than this napping,you can end up with less energy overall than you had before you went to sleep. The biology behind this is relatively complex and difficult, but it’s generally dependent on your progression through different REM cycles and sleep types. By limiting your sleep period, you can make sure you optimise your time in certain sleep cycles, and minimise the time spent in others.

So that’s the micro-nap. What can a 20 minute nap do for your productivity? While it’s already a way of life in many countries, it’s slowly creeping into the western world. If you’re looking for the ultimate productivity cure, a micro-nap is the best idea.

Discover more ways to get your children to sleep in the free Getting Your Children To Sleep report.

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