Of course, nothing takes the place of quality 8-9 hours sleep. However power naps taken almost anywhere can help you tremendously. They are almost as good as regular massage.
Research shows that just a 20-minute power nap can boost concentration, alertness, creativity, and mood.
And research from Nasa showed that pilots who take a 26 minute “Nasa nap” in flight (whilst the co-pilot takes the controls) perform 34% better and are 54% more alert.
Between 1pm and 4pm seems to be the best time for a restorative power nap as it’s the time of day our bodies are naturally telling us to rest.
Afternoon napping is a cultural norm in southern Europe and Asian countries where they declare themselves ‘unavailable’ f0r a period in the afternoons. Yep, they’ve known something good for a very long time – something we haven’t paid much attention – the restorative nature of napping.
The reason we don’t allow ourselves to enter into deep sleep whilst napping (more than 60 minutes) is because we can’t easily wake up from it. We’d feel groggy and less alert than before the nap.
NREM stage 2 (N2) (up to 60 minutes) provides the perfect balance between restorative sleep and being able to wake up again feeling fresh and alert, and power naps are designed to maximise this type of sleep.
However, the length of your power nap really depends on what you’re wanting to achieve. Check the chart above for more guidance.
If you’re having a restorative 8-9 hours (5-6 hours unbroken) sleep every night all power to you. However, If you have pretty average sleep patterns and find yourself hitting the wall early to mid-afternoon, you might want to simply try a short 10-15 minute power nap. Just to start.
Give the coffee and strong tea a miss and try resting. You’ll feel all the more better for it. Don’t forget to set your alarm!