Power napping is a quick and easy way to boost mood, memory and focus. It's a short period of rest that can revitalize you in a few minutes. Trust us, it's worth giving a shot.
Power napping has been around for a while now. But nowadays, it’s more popular. And that’s because people want to be more efficient during their waking hours.
So, the question is: do power naps work? To get to the bottom of this, you need to understand what a power nap is. And how it varies from other kinds of naps.
A power nap is a quick snooze that can recharge and reboot your body and mind. Unlike longer naps that can make you feel sluggish, power naps give you a burst of energy and sharpen your focus. Usually, a power nap lasts from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on what suits you best.
Power napping is all about working with your body's natural sleep cycles. They help you hit a lighter stage of sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed and pumped. Meanwhile, long naps can make you hit deeper sleep stages and leave you feeling groggy when you wake up.
Power Naps: The Science Behind It
So, here's the deal. There's a bunch of research that shows how napping can boost your brainpower. And make you feel happier, and improve your health.
Even a quick snooze can improve your memory, learn faster, and solve problems like a boss. Plus, it's a great way to lower your stress levels and stay alert when you need to be.
BBC says a 1995 study conducted by NASA found a 26-minute power nap resulted in a 34% increase in alertness. And a 54% increase in overall performance for pilots(1).
Meanwhile, let's look at another study published in the National Library of Medicine. It found that a 10-minute power nap in the afternoon improves alertness. Not to mention cognitive performance(2).
So, have you ever wondered why power naps are so effective? Well, it all boils down to how our sleep cycles work. When you take a power nap, you're hitting the snooze button on the body's sleep cycle. You enter the first two stages of sleep.
These stages are all about light, non-REM sleep. These are great for boosting brain activity and cognitive function. That's why a quick power nap can be your ticket for a pick-me-up.
Taking power naps during the day can enhance your performance. This makes it a great option for anyone who wants to boost their efficiency and feel better. Here are some of its benefits:
It makes you more alert.
If you're feeling drowsy during the day (or even during your night shift), a power nap might do the trick. Taking a quick snooze can replenish the energy you need to take on what comes your way. It's a great way to perk up and get back in the game.
It’ll lift your mood.
When things get tough stress-wise, try a power nap. Medical News Today says taking power naps can help lower stress and improve your mood(3).
Your cognitive functions get a boost.
As mentioned earlier, power naps can boost your brain power. Studies say it may improve your memory, learning, and problem-solving abilities. So, if you’ve got a couple of difficult tasks lined up, consider taking a quick snooze.
You’ll feel more energized.
Power napping can be a game-changer for beating that midday energy crash. Taking a quick snooze helps you stay alert and energized for the rest of the day.
What’s the ideal power nap time?
If you're looking to take a power nap, there's no set duration that works for everyone. But generally, the sweet spot is between 10 to 30 minutes.
This gives your body enough time to hit the lighter stages of sleep. This, in turn, helps boost your brain power and cognitive function.
Naps that last more than 30 minutes may make you feel groggy and disoriented when you wake up. It’s what you call sleep inertia. To avoid this, it's best to keep your naps brief and focused.
How to Set the Right Scene for Power Napping
Want to get the most out of your power nap? Here are a few things you might want to think about:
Find a quiet and comfortable place to rest. Noise and distractions will prevent you from getting a restful snooze.
Make sure that the room is at a comfortable temperature for sleeping. And that means it shouldn’t be too hot or cold.
Time of day
The perfect time to take a power nap is usually in the afternoon when you start feeling groggy. If your work hours are typical (9 to 5), then this is usually right after having lunch.
But if you work the night shift, then a quick 10 to 15-minute power nap during your shift works best.
Either way, make sure not to snooze too close to your bedtime. It may cause you to have a difficult time drifting off and staying asleep.
If you're having trouble dozing off, try dimming the lights or using a sleep mask to keep out light. This will help you fall asleep faster and get the rest you need.
In the next section, we’ll give you a couple of sleep mask options that are best for naps.
Supercharge your power naps with sleep masks.
Want to get the most out of your power naps? Consider one of our top-notch sleep masks. Most of them block out light 100% while others have a dual purpose. Check them out:
Like our heated eye mask, Manta COOL Mask delivers compression therapy. But this time, it's cold. This near-blackout mask is ideal for taking power naps.
It helps when you have headaches or migraines. It also refreshes tired skin around your eye area. Plus, it relieves itching from allergies.
Like the STEAM’s eye cups, we filled this cooling mask with beads. Store them in the freezer for an hour to get the ultimate cooling experience. Oh, and they stay cool for 10 minutes — perfect for your power nap.
Now that you know what masks to use, let’s take a look at how power naps differ from typical ones.
What’s the difference between power napping and regular naps?
Power naps and regular naps are both good for you, but they have key differences.
Power naps are shorter than your average nap. They give you a quick energy and alertness boost.
Meanwhile, there are more benefits of napping for regular snoozes. They also last longer. These include helping you catch up on sleep or get better when you’re sick.
The best thing about power naps is that squeezing them into your daily routine is easy. You won’t experience grogginess or difficulty sleeping fully at night (or day).
So, if you're feeling extra tired or under the weather, regular naps might be a better idea.
Tips for Effective Power Napping
To maximize the benefits of power napping, consider the following:
Time your nap. Aim to take your power nap when your body's energy levels dip.
Keep it short. Limit your power nap to 10 and 30 minutes to avoid entering the deeper stages of sleep. And experiencing sleep inertia.
Create a restful environment. Find a quiet, comfortable place to power nap. And make sure that the room is neither too cold or hot.
Block out light. Use an excellent sleep mask or dim the lights to create a sleep-conducive environment.
They recognize how it improves productivity. Some companies have even set up special nap rooms or pods for their employees to use.
If your workplace doesn’t have a designated space for napping, talk to your employer. Or find a quiet, comfortable place to take a power nap during your breaks.
Another option is to sleep on your desk, using a comfy nap pillow. And we have one that fits the bill and more.
We designed Manta NAP Arc for restorative power naps on your desk. It’s a pillow that packs flat so you can slip it into your work bag with ease. When you’re ready to nap, turn it into an arc by adjusting the strap.
So, to answer your question: “Do power naps work?" Yes, they do. They can boost your energy levels, alertness, and brainpower.
Start fitting power naps into your everyday schedule. And you'll get more things done and feel better on a whole.
Or whenever you feel a slump and need a pick-me-up, why not give power napping a go? Your body and mind will appreciate it.
Let us know how power napping works for you. Drop a comment below.
(1) “Who, What, Why: How long is the ideal nap?” BBC, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-13232034. Accessed 05 May 2023.
(2) “A 30-Minute, but Not a 10-Minute Nighttime Nap is Associated with Sleep Inertia” National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4763354/. Accessed 05 May 2023.
(3) “What to know about power naps.” Medical News Today, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/power-naps. Accessed 05 May 2023.
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