This tip will come in particularly handy for those who need to stay up late at night to work on their personal projects.

One thing that I’ve noticed in the last years is that the quality of work that I produce gets worse and worse as the hours pass during the day, which is normal considering that the more time you’ve been awake, the more tired you’ll be.

The usual outcome is that when you get back at home at the end of the day you have no motivation to work on your personal projects, so you probably end up wasting your time on Facebook (the new tv) or with other low quality activities, which is a shame really.

One solution is to go to bed early and then wake up early the morning after. I’ve been doing this for several months and it works extremely well, but you may prefer to stay up in the evening rather than waking up at 4 or 5 in the morning.

So what can you do? It turns out that if you take a nap soon after dinner, you’ll then feel more relaxed and ready to work or study for another 2 or 3 hours. I do this whenever I feel fatigued or with little motivation, and it works extremely well, but most of all it allows me to work on my personal stuff at night. Without a nap, I would waste that time anyway, and if I’d try to do something it would be affected negatively.

If you want to try this technique, just lay in your bed or in a couch for 20 minutes (use an alarm clock) and wake up as soon as you hear it. These twenty minutes may feel like total confusion inside your head, and sometimes, especially the first times, you may feel like you’re not sleeping at all, when in reality you are sleeping, even if very lightly. You’ll feel the difference at the end, trust me.

Don’t expect to fall asleep within 30 seconds initially, it’s normal to feel weird about it. If you think that you can’t sleep, just stay relaxed and let the time pass, it’ll be beneficial anyway.

I’ve found that I have the most benefits if I can keep with this routine for several days. It’s a habit that’s not obtrusive at all, especially for my lifestyle. Even if I want to go out that night it helps to relax for 20 minutes.

The same technique can be applied for a quick afternoon nap as well. I actually take two naps per day and I’ve reduced my sleep from 10 hours a night to 8 (without an alarm clock). I expect this time to lower even more, but for now I’m happy with it and I don’t want to force my body. Sleep patterns are good for statistics, but you have to find out what works for you.

By the way, the best part of all of this is that if you skip a nap one day, nothing happens, you’ll just feel as tired as you would have been anyway without the nap.

As usual, this is just my experience, which seems supported by other people who are doing similar things. If you have experience with something like this, or you want to give it a try, let me know in the comments.