Four Benefits of Power Napping – Shortcut to an Energy Boost
While most people think of napping as something that only lazy people or people with no ambition do during the day just to make it pass more quickly, new studies have shown the breakthrough power of short power naps.
What is a power nap?
Power naps are naps that are generally taken between 13:00 and 16:00 in the afternoon and normally range from 15 – 25 minutes. Any longer than this and you may run the risk of experiencing some sleep inertia, or that groggy and disorientating feeling that we often experience when waking up from a deep sleep.
It has also been found that naps taken after 16:00 don’t tend to yield the benefits of naps taken between 13:00 and 16:00 because it messes around with your usually sleeping pattern at night.
Monophasic and polyphasic sleep
Humans are one type out of only 15% of mammals that only sleep once a day. This makes us monophasic as opposed to polyphasic, which are what most animals that get to sleep on and off throughout the day are – lucky right?
We divide our day into two sections, awake and asleep.
Other mammals however take their day in their stride and where they can fit in a few ZZZZs, they make the best of the opportunity.
Benefits of power napping
There are more and more benefits that are being discovered about the perks of power napping. Below are just a few:
1. Improves productivity, alertness, memory and learning
Taking a quick power nap in the middle of the day is like hitting the reset button on your brain. It lets your brain quickly archive all that has happened so far and flushes it out to receive the next load of information. Power napping has proven to boost productivity, mental alertness as to what is happening around us, memory storing, as well as the ability to pay attention to learning and recall what has been learned afterwards.
2. Improves hearth health and boosts immune system
According to recent studies, taking a power nap not only reduces your chances of high blood pressure by allowing your body a quick time to rest, but it also boosts your immune system.
3. Relieves Stress
Taking a short power nap can give your body, and more importantly your mind, that short break it needs to just unwind before tackling the next project or task. Power naps can help by reducing stress and allowing you to focus more on the next thing you do without stressing about other things that have, or still need to, be done.
4. Elevates Mood
Taking a short power nap can help you wake up in a better frame of mind than the first time you woke up that day. It gives you a boost of energy and refreshes your body which generally leads you to a better mood than when you are groggy, tired and grumpy.
Why should I take power naps?
Aside from the aforementioned benefits to taking power naps, they have been proven to be more effective than even a Starbucks triple-shot Caramel Macchiato! Power naps have proven to give your body more of an energy boost than caffeine, and without the negative ‘crash’ that we sometimes get when the caffeine runs out.
And then it gets even better! Research has begun to show that a short 20 minute power nap during the day actually has the ability to undo the negative effects of a bad nights’ sleep. Giving your body that short time to recharge can make you forget about the 20 times you tossed and turned the night before while trying to get some sleep and can make you feel as if you had a normal good nights’ sleep.
This comes in handy not only when you have noisy neighbours or when your children wakes you up 20 times during the night, but can also help if you didn’t manage to get to sleep at the time you were wanting because you were burning the midnight oil. Keep in mind though: power naps cannot and should not be a permanent alternative for proper sleeping habits and routines.
Power naps and productivity
Many companies have even seen the benefits of power napping and started allowing power naps in the workplace due to increase in productivity from their employees. Google and Huffington Post are just two of the big names that now allow their employees to catch some sleep during the during the day.
The top companies that have awaken to the science of power naps are introducing dedicated areas for napping, equipped with either hubs or portable beds and air mattress (if the spaces is limited and airbed is a great option).
So the next time that you are feeling groggy and are sure that in the next hour your face will be planted on your keyboard, crawl under your desk and take a power nap for a quick energy boost to make it through the rest of the day!
How to organize your day to include a nap
You might be reading this and thinking, “But I work 10-hour days and there’s no way I can get power naps unless I sleep at my desk in front of everybody.”
If that’s your case, and it is for most people, there are alternative to think about – like air mattresses. The best airbed models these days are so small they pack to the size of a water bottle.
They can fit into your backpack much like a plastic lunch box does.
The only thing left is presenting the case your manager boss. If they are smart, they will listen to the science behind it and not only allow you to use your air mattress/sleeping pad in that forgotten closet each office has, they’ll probably get excited about the idea and introduce the culture to your workplace.
If that doesn’t happen, you can always get an air mattress for your car or truck and use your lunch break to get a 30 minute nap.
If they do adopt the power naps, we hope you get credit for coming up with the idea in the first place.