Learn the right way to count sheep.
It's 2 p.m. and you're exhausted. You're dragging through your afternoon practice duties in a daze, focused only on the warm, soft bed that awaits you at home. So what are your options? You could down another cup of coffee or splash some cold water on your face. But what you might really need is what you've been craving all along: a nap.
Taking an afternoon power nap can do wonders on those days you're fighting to stay awake. Studies of shift workers and other volunteers have shown that a nap as brief as 20 minutes can improve alertness, psychomotor performance, and mood.
Take caution when dozing off, however. Sleep inertia, a grogginess and disorientation that can result from awakening from a deep sleep, can occur after a long nap. Napping too long might also keep you up at night.
To harness the power of a nap, Harvard Men's Health Watch suggests the following tips:
> Take your nap at a good time in your daily sleep-wake cycle; for most people, that means sometime between noon and 4 p.m.
> Don't oversleep; a 20- to 40-minute nap should be sufficient.
> Give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to wake up before resuming any demanding tasks.
Your patients need your undivided attention and focus, so do whatever you can to give it to them. Indulge in a quick catnap.