Practically everyone enjoys napping. The idea of a midday snooze sounds very appealing, especially after a rough or restless night. For many people, naps are essential to their survival since more and more people are growing accustomed to missing out on a good night's sleep. A popular term for these midday siestas is "power nap." While the term sounds like a fancy form of napping, many often wonder what the actual health benefits of power napping are, and if there are any to begin with. Read on to find out.
What Does Power Napping Mean?
Often times, people confuse a power nap with a regular nap. So what's the difference? Unlike a traditional nap, power napping is a much shorter nap that is meant to end before a person falls into a deep sleep. A power nap typically lasts from anywhere between 15-to-30 minutes in duration. A nap that lasts longer than 30 minutes can cause a person to fall into a deep sleep, and if they are forced out of their deep sleep, they can wake up groggy, sluggish and disoriented.
Health Risks of Not Getting Enough Sleep
With busy schedules and the inability to achieve 6-to-8 hours of sleep that most people need to function properly, many people go about their day completely sleep deprived. Habitual sleep deprivation can lead to a sleep deficit, causing numerous health risks like:
Studies have also shown a correlation between sleep deprivation and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. These health risks stacked on top of the adverse effects sleep deprivation can have on cognitive function are more than enough reasons to look into taking power naps.
Benefits of Taking a Power Nap
- Power naps offer a quick boost in energy. Most people look to coffee and energy drinks to get them through the day, especially after hitting the midday hump where they really begin to feel the effects of their lack of sleep. If you're feeling tired and sleepy, give your body what it wants by taking a power nap, which can effectively leave you feeling refreshed and recharged to finish the day.
- Power naps can help increase your brain power. Memory, concentration, your ability to learn, creativity and overall cognitive function will vastly improve after a quick power nap if you're feeling tired.
- Taking a power nap can help reduce stress. If you're looking to break free from the stress and frustration of a bad day, take a quick power nap to help you feel more calm and relaxed.
- Your productivity will increase after a power nap. When you're starting to feel lethargic and your brain is becoming stagnant after being at work or class for an extended period of time, take 15-to-20 minutes for a power nap. Upon waking up, you'll be surprised how refreshed and alert you feel, as if you got a full night's rest in that short time span. This will help you get more work done rather nodding off at your desk, trying to keep yourself awake and focused.
- A power nap is only 15-to-30 minutes out of your day. Since power naps require you to sleep for only a short duration, most people are able to find the time for one at some point in their day.
- Having a power nap is better than having a cup of coffee. What many people fail to realize when they ingest so many cups of coffee each day is that the caffeine they desperately crave can come with adverse side effects. Break your caffeine dependency by getting that refreshed feeling from power napping.
- Power napping helps reduce the health risks associated with sleep deprivation. Power naps and napping in general can be very beneficial to a person's health if they are sleep deprived. However, it is important to note that getting too much sleep or sleeping too often can have adverse effects on a person's health as well. In that case, a good power nap beats a regular nap.
Tips for Taking a Power Nap
- Avoid using any sleeping aids for inducing a power nap. You run the risk of falling into deep sleep. Sleeping aids can be useful for helping you fall asleep at night, but not for 15 minute power nap.
- Find a comfy, quiet place for rest. Keep in mind that a person's body temperature can change while sleeping, so prepare accordingly.
- Try to take a power nap sometime in the morning or early afternoon. Taking naps later in the day can increase the chances of falling into a deep sleep, and can also affect your sleeping pattern at night.
- Either nap in a dark room or use sunglasses or even an eye mask to block out any light to help you fall asleep faster.
- Set a regular time for power napping and stick to it.