How To Take The Perfect Power Nap, According To Ben Greenfield
A good power nap, arguably, is as much of an art as it is a science. Because a really good nap in the middle of the day becomes rather tricky: How do you fall asleep quickly if you only have an hour or so? What if you wake up groggy, feeling even more tired? In other words, how do you make your power nap an asset in your day rather than an accidental nod-off?
Ben Greenfield, known as a professional biohacker, personal trainer, and New York Times bestselling author, has found a way (or four, rather) to ensure the perfect midday nap, every single time, no matter where he is.
"I'm a huge fan of power naps. So, I pull out all the stops on my naps," he tells me on the latest episode of the mindbodygreen podcast.
Here's exactly how Greenfield takes the perfect nap. With his four tips, you'll be sure to catch those Zzz's in no time:
Invest in a swanky neck pillow.
If you're on-the-go, whether by plane, train, or car, it's always a good idea to invest in a neck pillow. Except, unlike your standard U-shaped pillow, Greenfield suggests a J-hook neck pillow that wraps around your body.
"You can buy it easily on Amazon, and it is basically a neck pillow that works for side sleepers versus the standard neck pillow," he tells me. "When I put a J-hook pillow on, it kind of nestles between me and the window. So it feels like you're side-sleeping."
Along with this hack, he says, is to always choose a window seat if you can. That way, you can position the J-hook pillow in between you and the window and snooze on.
Block all sensory input.
After you have the right equipment for the perfect nap, the next step is to block out any noise or light. Greenfield mentions that we typically experience "sensory overload," where our brains are constantly being stimulated by our surroundings—be it blue light, sounds, or caffeine.
In order to fall asleep quickly, the key is to block that sensory overload and stimulation, which can be as easy as slipping on a sleep mask and set of noise-canceling headphones. "I use a sleep mask that just blocks everything out," he adds.
Greenfield is no stranger to supplements for sleep. For naps, his favorite being reishi mushroom, which he'll usually take right before a nap in order to calm his mind and wind down.
"Compared to anything else that relaxes you but still allows you to wake without being groggy from a nap, reishi works really well," he says.
Try a breathwork routine.
Once you're comfortable and ready to get some shut-eye, Greenfield encourages a breathwork routine to calm your mind and prime it for sleep.
His favorite exercises? Greenfield is partial to an adapted version of the 4-7-8 technique (he skips the seven-second hold and simply inhales for four seconds and exhales for eight), as well as box breathing.
"Four in and eight out is a form of breathwork that I'll use as I'm falling asleep. For winding the body down, I like box breathing—just four in, four hold, four out, four hold," he explains.
Your breath slows as your body enters sleep, so it only makes sense that a breathwork practice to slow your breathing would be helpful for your nap preparation.
With that, it's time for a well-deserved power nap. With Greenfield's tricks, getting the most out of your siesta has never been so easy.