It is the twenty-first century and most people around the world are getting busier with their life stretched between demanding career schedules and family responsibilities. It is because of this busy schedule that people don’t find the proper time to get the much-needed rest for a sound physical and mental condition. There are a lot of examples of people who juggle between different jobs and also their family responsibilities. Working mothers who have to take care of their children as well as fulfill their official responsibilities can’t get a proper 6-8 hours sleep at night. Similarly, there are men who switch between different jobs and it is difficult for them to maintain the work and sleeping hours. This kind of sleep deprivation may lead to severe health problems and lack of performance in their daily activities. Power nap has proven to be very beneficial for most people who are stuck in such kind of a busy lifestyle. A power nap is a short sleeping break in which the person doesn’t fall into slow-wave sleep or deep sleep. It is taken during the working day and it helps to revitalize or energize the person in a busy work schedule. Power naps have been regarded as a powerful medium for treatment of sleep deprivation. The term Power nap was first introduced by James Maas a Social psychologist at Cornell University.
Power naps are known to be extremely beneficial to maintain balance between sleep and time. When an individual has gone through sleep deficit then power naps are helpful to balance the normal sleep. Power naps can be of various time duration. All the different duration of power naps have their own characteristics and benefits. However, power naps are much shorter than a normal sleep and power naps are regulated in such a manner that the person doesn’t enter into a deep sleep stage which is past the stage 1 and stage 2 sleep. In case a person gets into deep sleep but doesn’t get past the stage 1 and 2 of sleep then that may enter into sleep inertia which results in disorientation, tiredness and more fatigue than before. Short power naps of 10-20 minutes can improve performance and freshen up the person without negative effects of sleep inertia. Most people who are into a habit of power naps can determine the exact time duration of power nap necessary for them. Some people have a habit of taking a power nap even if they get a full night proper sleep. There are various factors like the environment, tools, time duration and position of sleep which helps to make the power nap even better. Many researchers and studies have shown that even if the person gets a full night’s sleep, short power naps during the day can accelerate their performance.
Health Benefits of Power Nap
Power naps have been proven to have numerous benefits for rejuvenating the whole mental and physical system of human being. Some of the known benefits of power nap are as mentioned below:
- Short power naps of less than 30 minutes help to improve the learning process and maintain wakefulness.
- It helps to recover from negative hormonal effects and damages caused by sleep deprivation.
- It improves the memory power, decision-making skills, and creativity.
- It improves alertness and cognitive abilities in a person.
- It gives immediate results to get rid of fatigue, tiredness, and lack of concentration.
Tips for Taking a Power Nap
Various scientific studies and researchers have proven that a regular power nap reduces the chance of heart-related diseases by decreasing the stress levels. The following steps can be taken for the best power nap.
- Be regular in your power nap time and schedule. The best time for a power nap is between 1-3 pm in the afternoon.
- Maintain strict time duration not more than 30 minutes for a power nap.
- Take a power nap in a room where there is less light or wear an eye mask to get a quick sleep.
Amidst a busy work schedule, the people try different methods to freshen up their mood or rejuvenate themselves. Some people also resort to coffee to get their active hormones kicking in but studies have proven that power naps provide an effective solution to work-related fatigue. It freshens up the whole mental and physical system perfectly. However, there are various things to keep in mind before taking a power nap during the daytime. Power naps can make a person alert and active but it has to be done in a correct manner otherwise it won’t give proper benefits.
The following things should be considered to get a proper power nap.
A proper place for a power nap is very important. It is essential that the place where you take a power nap is silent and peaceful, free from any kind of disturbance. According to reports, 30 percent of people are permitted to sleep during their working hours. Many employers also allow their employees to take a power nap during work. In some offices, there is a place allotted to take a power nap. You can even take a nap in your own vehicle if you don’t have a proper place to take a nap in your office.
- If you need a nap on the road then you need to take a proper and safe place to park the car first. Park in a well-lit area with enough people around if it is in the night time. Make sure that the emergency brakes are set and the engines are shut down.
- At schools and colleges, libraries can be a perfect and quiet place to take a nap but only if you are allowed to do so.
- The room has to be dark so that you catch sleep faster. If the room isn’t dark then you can get a sleeping mask.
- The napping place needs to have a good temperature. It shouldn’t be too cold or too hot. Maintain the room temperature to a comfortable level.
- Get yourself a blanket or jacket if it’s too cold. If it’s warm then get a fan or adjust the temperature in the air conditioners.
- Listen to soft music when you take a nap. It will help in balancing the mind’s condition.
- A time duration of the nap
It is up to you to decide the length of the power nap that you need. It is known that power naps should not be more than 10-30 minutes. But power naps can also be of longer or shorter time. There can be various benefits depending on the time duration of the power nap. However, power naps can’t be too long otherwise it will give negative results.
- The shortest power naps are of 2-5 minutes which is to be taken if you really need rest but you don’t have time. It is also called a nano nap and it is to be taken when you can’t carry on with your activity because of feeling too sleepy.
- Mini naps are naps which go as long as 5-20 minutes. They are extremely beneficial because they help to improve alertness, stamina, and overall performance.
- The best power naps are ideal naps of up to 20 minutes. A short power nap of up to 20 minutes works like a computer system in which the unnecessary information is removed to refresh the memory. There are different stages of a sleep cycle and the first two falls in the first twenty minutes. This kind of nap alerts the brain system because of which there is working speed of the brain increases.
- A longer nap is of 50-90 minutes long. It helps us to get to a deeper level of sleep so it is also called a lazy man’s nap. This nap can be beneficial to make the whole system refresh if you have enough time for that purpose.
Points to consider for a power nap
While power naps can be very beneficial for our body system, there are a few things which we need to consider before taking a power nap and they are as follows:
- It is important to know about the negative effects of a long power nap which lasts more than 30 minutes. You can get into sleep inertia if you sleep more than 30 minutes which means you can feel more dizzy and groggy even after a nap.
- It is better to keep the phone in airplane mode and putting on soft music can be beneficial during a power nap.
- Keep a ‘ Do not disturb’ sign on your door so that people won’t disturb your nap.
- A caffeine nap can be helpful which means around 200 mg of caffeine can be consumed before a nap will ensure better quality nap. You will feel fresher after the nap.
- Set your alarm for the time duration you want for your nap. If you want a 10 minutes nap but it takes you around 5 minutes to fall asleep then set the alarm to 15 minutes and so on. Similarly, place the alarm away from your reach so that you won’t switch the alarm off when you are sleeping.
- Relax after closing your eyes and try breathing deeply focusing on the breathing only. It will help you to relax and fall asleep faster.
- If you can’t fall asleep as you desired, still you are advised to keep your eyes shut and stay in the position as if you are meditating.
- Wake up as soon as the alarm goes off even if you want to sleep for more time. You can try a light physical exercise like jumping and push-ups to feel fresh.
- Wash your face with cold water and get into a bright room after the nap to carry on with your work.