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Be a Better Attorney: 5 Tips to Optimize Your Nap Time

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By Betty Wang, JD on August 15, 2013 2:00 PM

Napping is crucial for many. If it's not already part of your schedule, it may be something to consider.

Attorneys are all too familiar with being overworked and not getting enough sleep at night. While it may be difficult to change your habits because of your work demands, adding nap time can potentially help boost your productivity and energy levels.

So for those looking to recharge quickly without having to sacrifice too many hours, here are five tips on how to optimize your nap time:

  1. Don't nap too late. If you're nearing the end of the day when you just have one more brief to look over or just a couple more clients to email, don't let the temptation of a nap lure you in. Napping too close to the end of the day might skew your sleep cycle. You could have trouble falling asleep when it's actually time to sleep, and this could affect how late you wake up the next day, and so forth.
  2. Set the proper environment. When you do decide to take a quick nap session, make sure you your settings are properly set up for it to ensure ultimate optimization. This could mean making your office a little darker, or minimizing the risk of interruption. Tell your paralegal to let others know that you can't be disturbed for the next 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Watch what you eat. Certain foods can mislead your body into thinking it wants a nap when it really doesn't. You don't want to accidentally take a nap and then wake up, only to feel like you need another one the next hour. If you're in a perpetual state of grogginess, this may not require a nap, but maybe a harder look at your regular sleep patterns and diet. Rich and heavy foods, for example, should probably be saved for weekends and not so much for a working lunch.
  4. Don't oversleep. You don't want to run the risk of missing an important client meeting or a court appearance. The general sleep pattern encompasses four phases: The first phase entails setting up your body for sleep with grogginess, general tiredness, and winding down; the second stage is what you want to hit -- when your body begins to power down and sleep. Be sure that you time your naps to around 20 to 30 minutes before you hit the third phase, which is deep sleep. Attempting to wake up from deep sleep is very difficult, and you could be even more tired than when ever.
  5. The "caffeine nap." A common trick that works for many is to take a "caffeine nap." First, right before your nap, you'll drink some caffeine. Then, you'll dive into a quick power nap, only to wake up and finally feel the effects of the caffeine kick in. This could give you that additional boost of energy, on top of the already refreshed feeling a nap provides. If it works for you, that is.

So (try to) sleep tight and strategize when it comes to optimizing your nap time. Because contrary to what you may have heard, you don't always lose if you snooze.

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