Four Benefits of Power Naps
Do you ever nap?
Perhaps you think naps are just for babies, older people, or for when you’re sick. They’re not! Naps are for everyone! I love to nap, not that I get much chance to. But when I do get the time, I head straight for a nap because there are actually some really amazing benefits of power naps. There are loads of reasons why naps are so great, I’ll take you through four of the biggest benefits of power naps. I’ve also made a handy list of tips on how to take a power nap at the end of the article for you.
First of all, what is a power nap?
A power nap is a short nap of around 15-20 minutes. It is a nap intended to revitalize and re-energize the napper, allowing them to wake up without feeling groggy. They are very short, which makes them easier to fit into the day.
If you’ve ever woken from a nap feeling more tired than before your nap, that is probably because you slept too long, and your brain entered into a different phase of sleep from which you were suddenly awakened (read more about sleep phases here). This can be hard to recover from for the rest of the day. However, a power nap avoids that heavy groggy feeling, and gives you the following benefits:
1. Power Napping Can Improve Your Memory
It is well known that getting good sleep is good for our memory. But did you know that power napping is good for it too?
This has been proven in various scientific experiments, where people are shown pairs of words, then asked to recall them after either shorter naps, longer naps, or no naps. The nappers perform better every time.
Think about what this could mean for you. Did you learn something new and important this morning? Got some facts and figures you just don’t want to forget? Taking a power nap could help you recall them better this afternoon. If you can nap for up to an hour, your memory will be even better again.
2. Power Naps Can Make You More Alert
As long as you time your nap right and don’t sleep for too long, it can help you to feel more alert. Not only has napping been shown to improve alertness levels in the time immediately after waking up, but also for hours afterwards.
Being more alert means you’ll be more productive and less likely to make mistakes. Sounds good to me!
3. Power Naps Help You Look After Your Heart
This benefit of power naps might seem a bit surprising compared to the other ones. Improved memory and alertness? Sure. But better heart health?! How does that work?
Recent research has shown that taking an afternoon nap can lower your blood pressure. This is really big news for your heart, because having high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
This finding is extra important, since many people are walking around without even realizing they have high blood pressure and therefore the risk they may be at.
4. Power Naps Can Help You Do Better At Work
There’s a reason why companies such as Google and Nike offer their workers spaces they can nap in throughout their work day. And it’s not because they’re trying to be quirky or different.
As you’ve already seen from the points above, napping is great for your memory and your level of alertness, so you’re going to perform better at work if you are able to take a nap when needed. You’ll most likely be in a better mood after a nap, too. All this means greater productivity for the company, so it’s a win-win situation. The employee gets the benefit of being able to take a nap when they want to, and therefore is able to do a better job.
When you think about how many of us are getting a poor nights’ sleep then stumbling off to work each day it makes even more sense to offer workers naps.
How To Take A Great Power Nap
Follow these three simple tips from a sleep expert to help you get the benefits of power naps:
- the best time to take a power nap is in the afternoon, between 1pm and 3pm
- make sure the room you are going to nap in is dark, and that you have a warm blanket to put over yourself (our body temperatures drop when we sleep). If you can’t make the room dark for your nap, get an eye mask
- set an alarm for 30 minutes or less. You want time to fall asleep, but you don’t want your brain to go into a deeper sleep than a power nap allows. If you sleep longer, you could wake up groggy