A power nap can surely energize you for the day. Getting a good rest in between your exhausting tasks can help your brain and body recover from exhaustion. Notably, power napping also brings advantages to your health. Aside from physical well-being, getting enough rest is also a step in loving yourself and acquiring a positive body image.
Learn the best nap length, benefits, and ways to acquire an optimized power nap with this guide.
What Is a Power Nap?
Power Nap Definition
To define power nap, we have to break down the two words that comprise it. First, ‘nap’ refers to a brief sleeping period that is taken commonly during the daytime. On the other hand, ‘power’ in this context pertains to a capability to perform, influence, or even enhance. Taken together, a power nap is a term associated with making people feel more energized or somehow empowered with improved skills after waking up from a nap. When done properly, this could restore and rejuvenate one’s mind and body. It lets people perform at their optimal condition. Power naps serve as coping strategies against exhaustion, stress, or sleep deprivation.
How Long Is a Power Nap?
A power nap’s duration makes it significantly different from power sleep. For instance, the former is ideally done in the middle of the day while the latter is done at night. Experts also recommend a power nap time that lasts for just around 10 to 20 minutes.
Power Nap Benefits
Are naps good for you? If done properly, power napping could definitely bring about good changes to your well-being. Practicing appropriate methods and ideal nap length will allow you to reap its benefits. The advantages of proper power napping include:
1. Enhanced Performance
When you’re tired, your mind and body are not at their best. As a result, you get less productive throughout the day. With the help of an afternoon nap, you can easily boost your performance. Getting enough sleep can help you spend more time accomplishing your tasks rather than feeling tired all the time. Napping in between your chores can also help decrease the risks of exhaustion and fatigue. In the long run, these conditions can result in burnout that will certainly be harder to recover from. With a consistent rest and nap schedule, you can manage your time well and perform tasks efficiently.
2. Improved Cognitive Abilities
Well-planned power nap schedules can also improve your cognitive skills and abilities. For one, it can enhance learning. When you’re feeling sleepy or tired, your brain won’t be working at its optimal condition due to the need for some rest. Napping will certainly help you feel more alert and awake as you study or try to learn new things. Reaction time will also be optimized as you answer questions and perform tasks. In terms of memory, napping well can also aid in its improvement. This way, you’ll get to remember important things that you need for an exam or at work.
3. Less Likely to Feel Sleepy
When you napped well, it’s also less likely for you to feel sleepy. Although sleepiness is common, feeling it too often or at high levels could affect your day. Allotting 10 to 20 minutes of your time daily for napping will significantly improve your productivity. Moreover, you’ll get to decrease your chances of feeling fatigued and sleep-deprived. If you often drive, feeling more awake can ensure your alertness and safety while doing so. People who also work late hours could benefit from squeezing in a short nap during their shift. If you’re a student, power napping will do wonders in making both your brain and body more refreshed. Feeling more awake and rejuvenated will certainly make you feel ready to take on whatever tasks you need to accomplish.
4. Healthy Emotional Well-Being
Regulating emotions is one of the essential aspects of maintaining one’s overall well-being. With the help of naps, you can acquire an increased chance of feeling happier due to the ample rest you acquire. Moreover, you’ll be more likely to feel positive as your body and mind are often well-rested and relaxed from consistent napping schedules. High levels of energy can also help you cope better with mental health problems. Sleeping and resting well will substantially improve anxiety or depressive episodes that fatigue or exhaustion can only make worse.
Tips and Tricks on How To Power Nap
Learning the do’s and don’ts on how to take a power nap can help you optimize your sleeping time and acquire the most energizing rest. Maintain proper power nap practices and periods with these tips and tricks:
How Long Should a Power Nap Be?
An ideal power nap should last for up to 10 to 20 minutes only. Although this duration seems to be insufficient or too short, it is proven to energize you in the best way. Napping for just up to 20 minutes also allows your body to rest without feeling drowsy when you wake up. Although a 30-minute power nap is longer than an ideal nap, you could feel more tired or sluggish afterward. Similarly, taking naps that last for just around five minutes is also too short and can leave you feeling more tired than rested. To avoid oversleeping, you can set an alarm for waking up. This way, you can limit your naps and reap their benefits well.
Optimal Nap Time
Wondering whether it’s best to take a nap in the morning, afternoon, or night can be quite confusing. When it comes to determining the best power nap time of the day, you should consider a couple of factors in mind. These include your circadian rhythm, sleep cycle, and homeostatic sleep pressure. In general, experts recommend taking a nap before 2 in the afternoon. This way, you’ll be able to avoid slow-wave sleep that could affect your nocturnal sleeping time and body clock.
The optimal nap time from person to person could also alter depending on particular needs. Although taking a brief power nap during the day is highly advisable, napping can also serve to be beneficial for people who need to energize themselves. Power naps can help people recover from tiredness or sleep deprivation. Those who are sick can also benefit from napping in terms of recovery and rest.
Power Nap Apps
Using a power nap app is also a great way to optimize your naps. There are lots of available apps that offer various features. These include a nap timer and alarm clock that help you ensure you won’t oversleep. Some nap apps let you consult with sleep experts and access smart features which help in addressing your nap-related concerns. Moreover, other apps even offer a sleeping journal that you could find appealing and especially helpful in tracking your napping schedule.
Power Nap Music
Similar to other activities, music can also enhance your napping sessions. Indeed, the right tracks or melodies can bring calmness and optimized naps. Soothing music can help lower heart rate and slow down breathing. These are essential in acquiring a sound and satisfying sleep. To find the right power nap music, you could try looking up peaceful sounds for napping. These could include calming sounds of the ocean or mellow tunes that make you feel more relaxed. Meditation music can also help in making you focus on your breathing. This way, your heart rate can slow down and make you fall asleep even better.
Optimize Your Environment
One of the key aspects to having a great power nap is a sleep-friendly atmosphere. Ensuring that the place where you’ll be napping is peaceful and quiet goes a long way in improving your power nap sessions. To do this, you must find a spot that is conducive to sleeping. At home, you can choose either the couch or bed as a constant napping spot. If you spend most of your days in your workplace, find a peaceful room or location where you know you’ll be able to rest comfortably.
Eliminating distractions is also a key tip in enhancing a power nap. Given an ideal nap’s short duration, you have to make sure that you savor and take advantage of its every minute. So, you must do your best to keep gadgets away during nap time. If possible, you may also put them on ‘Do Not Disturb’. Doing so will keep you from getting distracted and worried about your notifications. During your nap, you can also ask family members to refrain from waking you up unless it’s something urgent.
Next, keep in mind that having a dark environment works wonders in making you sleep well. This way, you can block out light that could wake you up. Notably, bright light can also refrain you from falling asleep right away. In the office, you can close out curtains or blinds to make your napping spot dim and cozy. You may do the same when you’re at home. On another note, blocking out sunlight from streaming in can also significantly help make your napping environment cooler. This way, you can fall asleep quickly and better. Lastly, go for a napping spot where there is the least noise possible. Just like light, loud sounds can also disrupt your sleep and wake you up. So, going for a location where there’s a peaceful atmosphere will certainly let you maximize your 10 to 20-minute power nap.
Accessories or Products for Sleep
It’s not all the time that we can conveniently find a good napping spot. If you’re always on the go, this can truly prove to be challenging. Sleeping at home could also be considerably hard with lots of distractions that can keep you from dozing off. Fortunately, there are lots of sleeping products and accessories that you can take advantage of. These can help you make any location be more nap-friendly and improve your overall sleep.
For one, earmuffs are great for canceling out noise that can disrupt your sleep. Whether you’re at home or in the workplace, these will work well in giving you the silent time you need. A sleeping eye mask is also perfect for blocking out the light that can keep you from dozing off. Essential oils or calming scents in your napping spot can also make you feel more rested and rejuvenized when you wake up. On another note, investing in a good bed mattress and pillows will also make your power nap feel more heavenly and relaxing.
Recover From Power Nap
Even when your power nap is up, you can still take a few steps that can help you maximize its benefits. Indeed, taking the time to recover from your nap will help prep your body and boost your energy. After napping, you can do some light stretching or a short walk that can help wake up your body. Drinking water is also great for hydration and energy promotion. You can also feel more awake by having a post-nap face wash or eating a snack. Indeed, there are lots of ways that can help you feel more invigorated and ready to take on the day.
Risks of Napping Incorrectly
Just like with other activities that we do, naps that are not done right could bring more harm than good. Learning how to optimize and properly nap will not only help you reap its benefits, but also avoid risks that could affect your well-being. Among the problems associated with improper power nap duration and incorrect sleeping practices include:
Short naps are great for boosting energy and recovering from fatigue. As a result, napping could help you improve productivity with your daily tasks. Notably, napping longer than the ideal time can also make you counterproductive. If you end up sleeping for hours, you’d lose precious time to accomplish your tasks. Napping for long periods can also interfere with your ability to sleep later at night. Due to this, your performance at work or with other activities will be affected negatively.
2. Heart Disease and Diabetes
Long naps taken in the middle of the day are also associated with adverse effects on adults’ cardiovascular health. This is due to how mid-day naps are connected to having poor sleep during the night. In turn, taking a nap for more than an hour could not only cause an increased risk of acquiring heart problems but also increase the risk of early mortality. Aside from heart problems, adults who take longer naps are also more likely to acquire diabetes. As this disease is linked to cardiovascular problems, it could affect the health of one’s heart muscles. As a result, people who have these medical conditions have an increased chance of having heart failure or even death.
3. Insomnia and Fatigue
Without ample rest, your body’s physical condition will certainly deteriorate. For one, you could experience insomnia at night. This sleeping disorder is a condition in which a person finds it hard to fall asleep. Although many factors could cause it, insomnia is heavily associated with an irregular napping or sleeping pattern. If you’re consistent with your nap schedules, you can disrupt your body clock, as well. Taking a power nap later than the prescribed 2 pm time can also make it even harder for you to fall asleep later in the night. If you experience insomnia, you can also experience fatigue. Indeed, not getting enough sleep will have your body and mind feeling tired. As a result, you’ll feel more disoriented and tired at work or school.
4. Mental Health Issues
Aside from risks to your physical well-being, various mental health issues can also arise from napping or sleeping improperly. Indeed, having the right amount of sleep is essential in people’s cognitive processes which include memory skills and regulation of emotions. Notably, sleep serves both as a cause and effect of mental health management. This two-way factor allows people to cope with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and more. On another note, naps and sleep could also help professionals recognize signs of various mental disorders. This goes to show that performing proper sleeping and napping practices are vital to enhancing one’s overall well-being.
Optimal Power Nap Length to Energize You
Aside from learning the technical meaning of power nap, familiarizing yourself with proper napping practices is also vital in boosting your energy and productivity. More importantly, maintaining a consistent napping schedule can help you avoid the risks that come with improper sleeping practices. This way, you can acquire a much-deserved rest and take care of your well-being.