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How to Hack the Power Nap and Master the Midday Recharge

By: Dave Asprey
October 26, 2018

How to Hack the Power Nap and Master the Midday Recharge

  • Napping has been shown to improve alertness, reduce stress, and boost immune response. With a few hacks, you can reap the most energy out of a 20-minute snooze.
  • Eliminate your need to nap by ditching a carb-heavy breakfast. Instead, enjoy high-quality fats like grass-fed butter and MCT oil.
  • Opt for a 20-minute coffee nap. Caffeinate immediately before sleeping. When you wake up, you’ll feel wide-eyed and alert.
  • Not a napper? Exercise, yoga, and a whole-body vibration plate can also help you master the midday recharge.

You know the feeling — that slump that comes on between noon and 2:00 p.m. I had it for years.

I used to get so sleepy that it was annoying. My eyes would get heavy and close by themselves, thoughts would slow, and I’d exist in a daze until something “woke me up” … or until I was able to take a nap.

If I fell asleep, the nap wasn’t short — in fact, most of my afternoon would be lost to sleep that wasn’t even refreshing. Sometimes I’d feel groggier after the nap. Does this sound familiar?

Over time, I learned how to use the Bulletproof Diet and performance techniques to fix the problem. Now, I rarely get sleepy in the afternoon, and when I do, I know exactly how to be up and running again in 20 minutes flat.

Here’s how.

Start your day with high energy

Man drinking coffee to start his day

Midday sleepiness isn’t necessarily tiredness or fatigue. It happens when you eat too much sugar or carbohydrates around breakfast (think bagels and cereal) and not enough healthy fats (like avocados and pastured eggs).

A sugary morning leads to a quick burst of energy for a few hours … followed by a crash. By switching to a breakfast of healthy fats like grass-fed butter and MCT oil, with or without protein, and cutting the sugar, you can remove the quick-burning energy and replace it with a sustainable energy source that lasts for hours.

If you have the problem of getting sleepy every day just after lunch time, try the Bulletproof Diet. It eliminates the stuff that saps your energy — like gluten, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods — and replaces it with foods that help you power through your day, sleep better, and improve your focus.

Here are a few tips for starting the day on a high note:

Salt

Add salt to your diet

In “The Bulletproof Diet,” I recommend mixing half teaspoon of a high-quality pink Himalayan salt in a large glass of water first thing in the morning to jump-start your adrenal glands.

“But wait,” you say. “Salt is bad for me!” Not true. You need salt to maintain mineral balance.

Your adrenals produce hormones that impact every part of your body, and salt is an important part of their natural response. Adrenal glands produce aldosterone, which balances your sodium and potassium levels. Those levels are important for regular cell function.  

When your adrenals are too stressed to create aldosterone, you can become dehydrated and have low blood pressure. That’s why you might crave salty foods around your midday slump — your body is signaling it needs more salt in your diet.

Only use high-quality sea salt in your glass of water. Pink salt mined from Utah or the Himalayas comes from pollutant-free seabeds. Avoid regular table salt — it’s packed with chemically extracted pure sodium and toxic aluminum anticaking agents. Gross. And definitely not Bulletproof.

Drink Bulletproof Coffee

Drink Bulletproof Coffee for high energy

After your glass of salt water, start the day with Bulletproof Coffee. That’s a mug of grass-fed butter (or ghee), Brain Octane Oil, and high-quality coffee beans, blended together into a frothy treat. It’s packed with healthy fats to keep you fueled and focused all morning long — no sugar crash involved.

Bulletproof Coffee is also an easy way to enjoy all the benefits of intermittent fasting, like increased energy and concentration, without feeling hangry. Learn more about intermittent fasting for beginners.

How to maximize your power nap

On those days when you get sleepy anyway, a quick nap can help. Napping has been shown to improve alertness, reduce stress, and boost immune response.[1][2]

Here’s how you can hack the power nap to maximize your energy.

Napping 101

Man taking a nap

For the most restorative snooze, limit your nap to 20- to 30-minutes. Longer naps can lead to sleep inertia, which makes you feel groggy, not energized.[3] Sleep in a cool, dark, and quiet place so you don’t have to waste any time getting to sleep.

Use Pzizz

App to improve nap quality

Pzizz is an audio engine that uses psychoacoustics to guide you into real sleep for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, it uses the same techniques to wake you up. Pzizz creates a new track each time you listen to it, which is why it never loses its effectiveness. The app simply guides you into a restful nap and then wakes you up on time. You’ll feel refreshed and alert — not groggy and cranky.

Try a Bulletproof Coffee nap

Drinking coffee before nap

Drinking coffee right before you take a short nap can help you have a more restful siesta. One study found that a coffee nap is more effective at reducing sleepiness than having a coffee or a nap alone.[4]

Normally, I only take a nap when traveling or if I’m feeling jet lagged. When I do nap, I opt for a coffee nap. For the best results, caffeinate immediately before sleeping, and limit yourself to 20 minutes. Learn more about the benefits of a Bulletproof Coffee nap.

Plan your snooze

Planning nap

The best time to nap is right around the afternoon slump.[5] For most people, that’s around 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., which is early enough in the day that it won’t interfere with your regular bedtime.

If you have a variable sleep schedule and find yourself nodding off at other times of the day, listen to your body. It’s a good idea to chat with your functional medicine doctor if you’re always tired or desperately need to nap every day — that could be the symptom of an underlying condition.

Not a napper? How to master the midday recharge

You can still enjoy a restorative burst of energy without nodding off. These energizing techniques work phenomenally well.

Meditation

Rolling out mat for meditation

Yoga nidra, a form of guided meditation, is also called dynamic sleep for a reason: meditation experts believe one 30-minute routine is the equivalent of two hours of deep sleep. Think of it as meditation and napping, all rolled into one restorative practice that you can do on your lunch break. Check out this 21-minute guided meditation to experience it for yourself.

Yoga

Need a quick burst of energy? Find a wall and get into this pose for 15 minutes:

This pose nourishes and recharges the adrenal glands. It also brings blood to the head where you can use it!

Yoga wall pose

I usually feel sleepy when I begin this pose. By minute 7 or 8, I’m staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, alert and ready to go. The full 15-minute session really seals the deal.

Exercise

Woman running for mid-day burst of energy

Exercise can give you a burst of feel-good energy to power through the afternoon slump. The best part? You don’t need a full, hour-long sweat session to reap the energizing benefits of a good workout. Check out these 10-minute workout routines you can knock out at home, at work, or on the go.

Related: The Bulletproof Exercise Roadmap

Stepping on a vibration plate for 15 minutes can also do the trick. At 30 Hz, Whole Body Vibration (WBV) therapy improves blood circulation, improves mental sharpness, and increases the secretion of serotonin — the happy hormone.[6] Learn more about the benefits of whole-body vibration training.

I like this option because it’s passive, and I’m often sleepy when I begin. Just standing on the plate wakes me up within 5 minutes. This is the one I use. If I need a break during my workday, I’ll step on the vibration plate and run through a few yoga poses. On days when I need to make the most of every second, it’s enough to refocus my energy and help me kick ass at work all day long.

I use all of these Bulletproof techniques on different days, depending on how I feel. How do you recharge when you’re feeling groggy? Tell me about your go-to hacks in the comments.

How to hack the power nap infographic

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