Power Naps Can Work Miracles
Barrington H. Brennen, April 27, 2015
you constantly tired and loathsome even after a long
night’s sleep? Do you take very long day naps as a way
to re-energize yourself but still feel lethargic when
you wake up? Well, why not try power naps. Power naps
are short naps, usually no more than twenty to thirty
minutes long. Research has shown that such short naps
can do more good for the mind and body than coffee or
naps two to three hours in length. In fact, having
regular power naps can even boost your health and
Here’s what sleep expert, Sara C. Mednick, PhD says
about power naps: “Daytime naps can be one way to treat
sleep deprivation.” She said: "You reset the system and
get a burst of alertness and increased motor
performance. That's what most people really need to
stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost." If you
start taking daytime power naps, you will join these
well-known people who were famous for their afternoon
powers naps: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald
Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and
George W. Bush.
We can’t be too busy to take power naps. “I’m too busy”
is the excuse of most people who say they cannot do
certain things in their lives. They are even too busy
to take a power nap during the day. However, if they
look at their productivity, they would still be lagging
behind their goals. Today, we can change that. The
article shares that twenty minutes power naps are “good
for alertness and motor learning and performance without
leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime
sleep.” Many people use coffee to give them a push.
“But research tells us that caffeine, which is in
coffee, can decrease memory performance. So you may feel
more wired, but you are also prone to making more
mistakes,” say Dr. Mednick.
Research also tells us that humans are the only animals
who most of them do not take naps during the waking
hours (except for little children and the elderly).
Another research indicates that “More than 85% of
mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that
they sleep for short periods throughout the day.”
Humans, unfortunately, who should be wiser, are not
doing so, and it is impacting our performance and
health. “A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots
and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved
performance by 34% and alertness by 100%.”
Online WebMD states how longer “power naps” can also
benefit us. “Slow-wave sleep -- napping for
approximately 30 to 60 minutes -- is good for
decision-making skills, such as memorizing vocabulary or
recalling directions. Getting rapid eye movement or REM
sleep, usually 60 to 90 minutes of napping, plays a key
role in making new connections in the brain and solving
creative problems.” Note though, if you can start now
with 20 minutes of daily power napping, you will be
doing yourself a great deal of good—beyond what you can
Many people who come home tired from work or school and
decide to nap and often would sleep for hours and still
arise tired. Then they wake up trying to do their
homework or other chores or required assignments but
cannot do it well. This happens because when you sleep
more than the power nap time frame, you put your body
and mind in a sleep mode that requires you to finish the
sleep cycles. But instead, you have to interrupt it to
do your tasks. Then you find that are you still tired
and cannot really concentrate. Short power naps will
give you the same power or energy you are
unrealistically expecting from those longer naps in the
day. It sounds unreal, but it is true. Try it.
The next time you come home feeling tired and beaten
from the day’s activities and “cannot do a thing” but
need to, take a power nap—just twenty minutes.
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
How do you do power naps? First make sure you have an
alarm clock or something or someone to wake you in
twenty minutes. Second, make sure the environment is
quiet, and conducive to sleep without interruptions.
Ensure the room is airy and cool and smells fresh. For
some it might be best not sleeping the regular sleep
bed, but a comfortable place is imperative. Third, when
you lie down, you must “go to sleep.” Do not lay there
expecting sleep to come to you. Tell yourself you will
sleep. Concentrate on going to sleep. Lay in a
comfortable position where you can relax your muscles.
If it is difficult the first time you try it, start by
focusing on breathing slowing with your eyes closed. If
you need music to assist your napping, make sure it is
soft, easy-listening, relaxing music that will not
stimulate you to keep awake. If you live in Nassau,
turning to Cable Channel 27 or Classical 98.1 FM on the
radio dial might to wonders. Make sure the room is dark
or use eye masks. Also make it a daily routine to nap.
“Research has found that napping regularly may reduce
stress and even decrease your risk of heart disease.”
Months ago I asked a teenage client to start doing power
naps. He was amazed how it energized. He said he had
more time to do his assignments and he was much more
alert. He was so excited about how he felt that he said
he will recommend that his school have required power
naps every day for high school students. Smart boy!
Start your power nap today.
Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist
and board certified clinical psychotherapist, USA. Send
your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or
write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or
visit www.soencouragement.org or
call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002.