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This Is The Real Reason Why Power Naps Are Necessary

One thing we all love about Sundays is that sweet, short yet long afternoon nap after a Sunday lunch feast. And such Sunday evenings are the most refreshing times one can ever get before plunging into a week of work. And on workdays, have you noticed that you start feeling worn out and tired once the a.m. turns to p.m.?

Two words make all the difference: nap and power. It’s the power of a power nap.

With the advent of 24/7 working corporates and 9–5 work schedules, naps have become a thing of the past and are often labeled as laziness. Dr. Mathew Walker in his book ‘Why We Sleep’, talks of how the human body has been genetically structured for a biphasic sleep, i.e., a long night sleep of 7–8 hours and a sleep of shorter duration in the afternoon. And hence we experience that post-lunch dip, often manifesting as the vertical swinging of heads in conference rooms and classrooms. (Now we know who is the culprit behind those dozy afternoons at school!)

Now, what makes nap a ‘power nap’? Limiting your nap to ideally 20 minutes. According to, the best nap length in most situations is one that is long enough to be refreshing but not so long that sleep inertia occurs. They are referred to as ‘power naps’ because they provide recovery benefits within a short time without leaving the napper feeling sleepy afterward.

What makes taking a power nap so important?

When you feel worn out and stressed, taking a power nap is like recharging yourself with energy to complete the day’s work. Studies show that this siesta enhances performance, increased memory power, and better emotional stability. Power naps are also recommended when you have to stay alert for a long time but do not have enough time to go for a sleep.

Another reason why power naps are important in the present scenario is the worsening sleep culture of the day. The 8-hour requirement of night sleep is barely being fulfilled and the sleep hours are diminishing day by day. Taking power naps reduces your sleep debt and prevents you from falling into extreme sleep bankruptcy.

(Note: However long your nap might be, or however ideal your power nap is, we believe that it never equals the night sleep in its benefits and importance. Though polyphasic sleep has been a subject of various studies, it is not proved to have benefits over the long night sleep.)

How to Take the Best Power Nap then?

There are some best practices to follow in order to get the best out of your power nap. For the best results, when, why, how, and how long is your nap matters.

1.Time your power naps. Sometimes, you might have woken up feeling groggy and even more tired after a nap than you were before the nap. This happens when your sleep enters stages like deep and REM sleep. In case your sleep has to go beyond 20 minutes, then try waking up after 90 minutes, when the first sleep cycle generally completes. Waking up at the end of a cycle keeps you refreshed and not groggy.

2. The best time for the mid-day power nap is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. If you go for an early nap, the homeostatic sleep drive would be low, and falling asleep would take longer than expected. If you take a nap later in the day, it would increase your sleep latency and affect your night’s sleep routine.

3. Where and how you power nap matters a lot. Despite its short duration, if you could create an environment as you would for the night’s sleep, great! The dark and quiet surrounding is the best. Else, you can use sleeping masks and noise controllers. At the bottom line, the quality of your sleeping environment is a determiner of the quality of your sleep.

4. Making power nap part of your daily routine is good. It helps your body to take the short break automatically and reboots you with refreshed body and mind. Even if your night sleep gets disrupted, routine power naps will be something for your body to fall back upon.

Japan stands as the best evidence for everything good about a power nap. Tagged as the most sleep-deprived nation in the world, Japanese companies started letting their employees have a midday caffeine nap. Interestingly, they have even got a word for it: Inemuri- the Japanese art of taking power naps at work, on subways, and other public places.

Realizing the power of mid-day power naps, Ben and Jerry’s, Uber and Google have also set apart spaces for the afternoon siesta at their headquarters, to boost their employee productivity and reduce workplace stress. With more researches and studies being conducted across the globe on the benefits of power naps, it might soon become one of the most used stress-busters and performance-enhancer, especially in the corporate sectors.

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