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The Secret to Afternoon Energy

OK, this could be an article about coffee but it's about napping!

(I prefer the word siesta, it has less stigma attached to it.)

Research shows you can make yourself more alert and improve your mood and cognitive functioning with a “mid-day restart.”

When we restart a bogged-down computer, the internal operating system works better. Putting aside five to 20 minutes around lunchtime decreases stress, and improves memory and efficiency. With practice you will find that you only need five to 10 minutes to feel completely rested and ready to take on the afternoon.

The ideal time is when you start to feel the mid-day “blahs,” a decrease in your energy or your ability to concentrate. This usually happens around eight hours after waking


Right after eating lunch often works best. Ideally, you want to enter a light sleep but even five minutes of conscious relaxation will have a positive impact on your nervous system. If you do it around the same time every day, you will develop a physiological habit and your body will naturally go into deep rest.

For best results, start consciously and deliberately.

Here’s how:

>>> Set an alarm or timer for five to 20 minutes, whatever your schedule allows.

>>> Lock your door, find a quiet spot, turn your phone to silent and mute the computer.

>>> Sit comfortably, preferably reclining with your head supported and the legs stretched out.

>>> Close your eyes lightly, and settle your weight into the support. Take a few deep breathes into your belly, breathing out forcefully or with a sigh. Then stop controlling the breath and just let it be.

>>> Internally “scan” your body, consciously softening any tension that you notice. Pay particular attention to letting go of your jaw, forehead, shoulders, hands and hips.

>>> Don’t try to fall asleep, just continue to breathe naturally and let your weight sink into the surface you are sitting on.

>>> Let your mind wander, or just notice your breath moving in and out as you let go of the tension in your body and the concerns of the day, just for a few minutes.

Get up slowly when the alarm or timer goes off.

Using a timer or alarm is very important. It gives you the confidence to completely relax, knowing that you won’t “over-rest” and miss that important meeting or be pressed for time to complete what you need to that day.

Taking a break like this not only helps you feel more alert and focused for the rest of the day, I often find that I will have an ‘a-ha” moment that answers a question or solves a problem that needs my attention.

It has also been proven to improve memory and learning. But it only works if you do it! Set the time aside every day and the benefits will quickly pay off with increased productivity in the afternoon.

First published at

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