Lifestyle

The Power of a Power Nap

By Ashley Previte

The school day starts early. And you were up late last night preparing lessons, grading papers, and cutting out 35 new teddy bear name tags. Sleepiness is weighing down your eyelids and creating a mist through your brain.

Caffeine may take off some of the edge, but what you really need — and want — is a power nap.

Naps have gotten a bad rap for years. But taking the time for a quick snooze can do more than give a needed energy boost.

Benefits of napping

Napping can have many advantages. Power naps can boost cognitive functions, restore attention, improve quality of work, and reduce mistakes. Naps can also boost your mood, stress levels, and even weight management

Types of naps

  • Planned napping: When you know the night will be long, sometimes it’s beneficial to take a nap before getting sleepy. 
  • Emergency napping: When proper engagement in current levels of activity becomes nearly impossible, or worse — dangerous — an emergency nap is highly advised. 
  • Habitual napping: Some people have developed the habit of napping every day. It’s a welcomed part of their daily routine. 
  • Appetite napping: Sometimes the need for a nap is a craving that can’t be denied. 

Time matters

A short nap of about 20 minutes is long enough to reap afternoon benefits, but not so long as to suffer that unpleasant groggy feeling that takes time to clear away. Sara C. Mednick, PhD, a sleep expert and author, promotes an afternoon power nap for that burst of quick energy. The 20-minute power nap is good for alertness and can possibly add more rest than an extra 20 minutes of sleep in the morning. 

Add coffee for an extra boost

Drinking coffee right before a nap may sound counter-productive, but actually, it can make perfect sense. Caffeine usually takes between 20 and 45 minutes to kick in. Drinking coffee or other caffeine alternatives before napping will help you feel more alert upon waking.

Let your body know nap time is over

Once you’ve slumbered for 20 minutes, let your body know that nap time is over. Get some sunlight on your face, take a brisk walk, jump in place, or splash some water on your cheeks. Then get right back to whatever work you were doing before your nap.

Power naps aren’t just a guilty pleasure. So ignore those pangs of guilt about napping and improve your mood, alertness, and performance with a quick sleep.

Sweet dreams!

Ashley is anaward-winning copywriter and content expert with more than a decade of proven results for national and local clients. From brainstorming high-end conceptual content to styling sentences that engage and convert, she’s got a knack for shattering the status quo. When she’s not in full-on writing mode, she’s hanging out with her rascal of a puppy and discussing the plausibility of unicorns with her 8-year-old daughter.

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