Updated September 24, 2020There are some days where we just can’t keep our eyes open, and we need a few minutes of sleep to get through the day. A quick power nap can serve as a midday refresher to save you from the post-lunch slump and an afternoon of feeling sluggish.Believe it or not, naps are not just for your kids. When done right, napping is proven to increase energy and alertness in adults, and it can even make it easier to speed through your day’s work. If you think you don’t have the time, or are just having trouble napping, don’t worry, we are here to help. In this article, we discuss how you can learn to power nap, and talk about the benefits of a few extra minutes of sleep.What is Power Napping?A power nap is a short period of rest that takes place during the daytime. Even naps that last for fifteen minutes can leave you refreshed and improve your energy levels. Power naps slow down brain activity and body just enough to recharge you. While sleeping for longer durations slow downs your heartbeat and brain wave activity even further, and can leave you feeling sluggish upon awakening.Our sleep cycle goes through four stages of sleep. NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep occupies the first three stages and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is the final stage.The first two stages of NREM sleep are light, so getting a bit of light sleep can leave you feeling rejuvenated upon waking. After the light sleep stages, your body enters a more relaxed state and slips into a deeper sleep. At that point, it becomes difficult to wake up. Plus, when you wake up from deep sleep, you typically feel more tired than you did before you napped.How to Power NapYour power nap is meant to restore your body and give you an extra push to conquer the day. If you are sleeping too long or forcing yourself to rest, you won’t be able to experience the benefits of a proper power nap. Here are some tips you should follow before you lay down to nap.Don’t Force Yourself to SleepOnly take a nap if you are feeling fatigued and need a refresher. If you cannot fall asleep at naptime, you are probably not as tired as you think. Naps should always be peaceful, and there is no way you can destress when you’re anxious about trying to fall asleep.Upon laying down, take a couple of minutes to try to fall asleep. If you realize you are not tired enough for a nap, try going for a walk, instead. A quick walk will give you a burst of energy more fulfilling than a cup of coffee. Additionally, a short 10-minute walk allows the brain to release endorphins, and when our brain releases endorphins, we feel more energized.Keep Your Naps ShortPower naps should last no longer than 25 minutes. Napping for 25 minutes allows you to sleep through the lighter stages of sleep, Stage 1 and Stage 2, and wake up right before entering into a deep sleep. Stage 1 sleep usually lasts 10 minutes, while Stage 2 lasts around 20. We advise waking up before the 30-minute mark to avoid any grogginess that may come from nearing closer to deep sleep.When naps exceed 30 minutes or cause you to transition into or deep sleep, they’re harder to wake up from and often cause significant drowsiness—sometimes called sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is a transitional period between sleep and wakefulness. Waking up with sleep inertia will leave you feeling fatigued and groggy several hours after your nap.If you have time, you can technically nap for 90 minutes without feeling fatigued, as this is the length of a full cycle. Napping for the entirety of a sleep cycle fully restores the parts of the brain that are responsible for cognitive function and can enhance your memory or boost your alertness.Plan Naptime for the AfternoonIf you can, try to take your nap between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. These are the best times to nap because our body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock, naturally dips during the middle of the day.A mid-day slump is usually brought on by a decrease in your core body temperature that happens between 2:00 p.m and 4:00 p.m. Your body temperature drops and releases the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin, causing you to feel sleepy.Afternoon naps may not be for everyone. If you are a shift worker or work irregular hours, you’ll probably find it difficult to fall asleep during the day. We recommend that you take a nap before your shift to reduce sleepiness when you’re at work. You can also use 10 to 15 minutes of your break to re-energize you while on the job.Find The Perfect Napping EnvironmentIf you are taking your nap at home, the best place to rest is in your bed. However, you don’t want to get too comfortable, because this might keep you from waking up. Try sleeping on the couch since couches are still comfortable, but not too comfortable.Finding a comfy spot to nap at work may be a bit of a challenge. Luckily, many corporations provide spaces for their employees to nap during breaks. If your office does not have this luxury, try napping in your car. You can make napping in your vehicle more comfortable by bringing an extra pillow or blanket each day.Once you provide yourself with the perfect place to sleep, limit your distractions so your mind doesn’t wander and you can focus on sleep. Avoid using your cell phone and silence notifications that may disturb you. Remember, your nap is going to be short, so you’ll need to get to sleep quickly without interruptions.Try Out a ‘Coffee Nap’To take a “coffee nap,” drink a cup of coffee before taking a power nap. The effects of caffeine take about 20-minutes to kick in, so sleeping for this duration may result in more energy than just napping or consuming caffeine alone.Adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleep, builds up in our bodies when we feel tired. Caffeine has to compete with this chemical to stimulate the brain while we are awake. However, as we fall asleep, levels of adenosine drop immensely and leave more space in the brain for the effects of caffeine to take over—enhancing the effects of both your coffee and your shut-eye.Benefits of Power NappingPower naps you give your body the energy it deserves. Having more energy throughout the day is just one benefit you’ll get from napping, it also can improve your memory and elevate your mood. Below, we talk about how.Increased Energy and AlertnessSometimes working through the midday slump can make it harder to complete tasks. A proper nap can give you a chance to hit the reset button and keep you from slumping over your desk.If you are frequently nodding off or have heavy eyelids during the day it could be a sign that you need a nap. You should not ignore these signs as they could interfere with the quality of your work or even impair your driving ability. Laying down for 15 to 20 minutes will give you time to recharge your body and regain focus.Enhances Your Memory and AccuracyAn afternoon nap can improve your focus and ability to concentrate. A recent study found brain activity associated with concentration was as strong in the afternoon as it was in the morning among nappers, while non-nappers saw a decline. People who napped for at least 30 minutes were also able to recall information better than people who did not nap.Improves Health and WellnessResearchers have found a connection between power napping and a decreased risk of developing heart-related conditions. Many health professionals believe you’re less likely to experience a cardiovascular episode because sleep relaxes you and reduces stress on your hearts. A sleep-deprived individual is more likely to experience stressful situations, putting them at risk of increased cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.Elevates Your MoodDuring a mid-day slump, it’s common for people to feel irritable and less productive. Taking a nap during this time will give your brain a break, which might be what it needs to continue working. With your brain recharged and mood restored, you’ll be able to tackle the rest of the day.FAQsHow long should I nap?An ideal nap should be taken for 20 minutes. Keeping your naps short will provide benefits for alertness and performance without feeling fatigued. You should avoid sleeping for more than 30 minutes as it could cause you to feel groggy when you wake up.Is it unhealthy to nap during the day?It is not unhealthy to nap during the daytime. The ideal time to take a nap is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Around this time, our body’s internal clock starts to wind down, so taking a nap is better than sleeping later in the day. Getting 15 minutes of rest will re-energize you and help you stay alert.Is it bad to nap every day?Napping 2-3 times a week can improve your health. However, napping every day for long periods could mean you are getting inadequate sleep each night. If you are going to take a nap, be sure you are getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Proper nightly rest may make your nap more refreshing when you wake up.Why do I feel tired after I nap?If you feel tired after your nap, you are most likely napping too long. Naps that exceed a regular REM cycle, or 90 minutes, make it harder for us to wake up since we are experiencing slow-wave sleep. When we finally wake up, our bodies need more time to adjust from the deep sleep we were in, so it’s common to feel drowsiness after these long naps.Can a nap make up for sleep loss?A nap cannot make up for the sleep you lost the night before. Naps are a part of light sleep, which can give you a nice energy boost but will not restore several hours of missed sleep. Be sure to keep the proper amount of sleep each night so you can receive restorative deep sleep as well.ConclusionIt is important to remember that power naps are supposed to energize you. If you are using naps to catch up on sleep, you probably won’t reap the benefits of napping. Skipping out on the 7 to 9 hours of sleeping your body needs can have a long-lasting effect on your overall health.When you get the proper rest at night your body will naturally be ready for an afternoon slumber. Plan to keep your nap short and limit your distraction. You’ll want to get to sleep promptly so you can wake up on time.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.