Power Nap Benefits. Are they good for us?
Are you feeling tired? If you find that you can’t wait for the day to end because you don’t have the energy to deal with anything in the late afternoon, then you could probably benefit from a quick afternoon power nap.
What is a Power Nap?
A power nap involves sleeping for a short period in the afternoon to help your central nervous system recover from the stresses of the morning. If you spent the early hours of the day dealing with clients and crunching numbers, then the chances are that you’re feeling pretty tuckered out by the end of the day.
Taking a short nap for 20 to 40-minutes will help your brain clear toxins from neural pathways, leaving you feeling revitalized and ready to hit the books or meet that client for dinner.
When is the Best Time to have a Power Nap?
Research shows that the best time of day for your power nap is between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm. During this stage of the day, the brain is reaching its peak of neural activity, and taking a power nap at this stage is like feeding it a supplement to help its function later in the day.
Sleep experts recommend that you sleep for 20-minutes, and stretch it to 40-minutes if you’re feeling exceptionally shattered. Sleeping for longer than 40-minutes starts to induce the fourth stage of sleep – the REM phase, and it will end up making you tired and groggy when you wake up. By keeping to the 40-minute maximum nap time, you’ll feel restored and refreshed, not like you need to get back to bed.
Sleeping for too long also alters your circadian rhythm, your biological clock that regulates your sleeping patterns. If you get too much sleep during the day, it messes with your circadian rhythm, keeping you up at night when you should be sleeping. These types of changes to your natural body-clock will leave you feeling exhausted the following day.
The Benefits of a Power Nap
Power napping is a great idea. Daytime naps are an excellent way to avoid sleep deprivation. If you’re feeling tired after a long night, a quick 20-minute power nap can give you the energy you need to make it through the rest of the day.
Power napping also produces better cognitive function. Research shows that the brain clears toxins during sleep. If you’re having a hard time making out that spreadsheet, hit a quick power nap and you might find that it makes better sense to you later on in the day.
If you’re an athlete, hit a quick power nap before you head out to the gym or the track. The extra bit of rest will supercharge your athletic performance, and as a result, you’ll feel stronger and faster on your feet.
Power Nap or Coffee?
The next time you’re feeling tired during the middle of the day, put down the coffee pot and take a nap in the staff lounge instead, maybe try a nap pillow too. Drinking coffee may keep you awake due to the high caffeine content, but it’s a nervous system stimulant, not a refresher. As a result, you’ll find that you’re still yawning after your fifth cup of coffee.
The extra stimulation of the CNS may make you feel even more tired. A power nap ensures that you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated – not overstimulated.
Are you sold on power napping yet? Why not give it a try and see if it works for you? Here are a few tips for you to use on your first power napping session.
Keep a regular napping schedule – and be consistent.
Set your phone alarm for 30-minutes, and don’t “sleep-in.”
Try and nap in as dark a room as possible, with no noise.
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