Are Power Naps Good for You?

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Proper naps are a luxury that we can only enjoy on our days off, as adults. The post-lunch food coma is a strong invitation for an afternoon nap, but alas, not all of us can afford the time for a two- to three-hour nap during the weekday. A power nap, though? It is possible, especially with many of us working from home these days.

What is a Power Nap?

A power is regularly defined as a short period of day-time sleep, usually about 20 to 30 minutes in the middle of your day, that is said to rejuvenate you when you feel tired. Some popular health benefits touted about power naps are that you get to enjoy increased energy, improved memory and reaction time, heightened focus, mental clarity and even increased creativity.

Naps can leave you waking up feeling either super refreshed or not knowing what time it is – there’s no in-between. Power naps on the other hand usually leave you feeling energized and ready for the rest of the day. So, does this mean that we should all start taking 20-min short naps during our lunch hours?

Not quite. Everyone’s bodies, their circadian rhythms, in particular, work in different ways. For some, regular naps and power naps can have no effect on their cognitive health, while for others, the shortest nap can disrupt their body clock in a big way. There are several things that you should take note of before deciding on taking power naps during the day.

Power naps are not for everyone

If you are suffering from insomnia or any kind of irregular sleep disorder, naps during the day, no matter how short or long, can confuse your body clock and mess up your routine.

You might find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night and feel less-than-optimal the next day, starting a vicious cycle of poor sleep and cognitive health that can be very difficult to break.

Duration matters

If you are able to take a power nap during the day, you should be very mindful of how long you nap for. Too long and you might wake up feeling groggy and unfocused, too short and it’s useless and does nothing for your focus and cognitive health. Experts have found that 20 to 30mins is the ideal length for a power nap that will leave you feeling refreshed and alert.

Prioritise a good night’s sleep

A nap, no matter whether it is a regular old nap or a power nap, is not by any means a substitute for a full night’s sleep. Our bodies need that 7 to 9 hours of deep, restorative sleep for us to function well the next day. If you find your sleep cycle disrupted due to your naps, you might want to look at taking the nap earlier in the day or not taking them altogether.

Ensure that your naps work for you and not against you – plan your naps in advance. Make sure that they happen at least six hours before your usual bedtime, and that you’re not distracted by anything else around you. Set up a comfortable and quiet environment that helps you fall asleep quickly, so that you get the full benefits of a power nap. Check out our tips on how you can design your bedroom for the best night’s sleep.