Ideal length, time of day and more explained

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Ideal length, time of day and more explained

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Kids aren’t the only ones who can benefit from naps.

After working hours, many adults experience sleep deprivation in the afternoon and feel the dire need to re-charge themselves. But instead of grabbing a caffeinated drink, it may be more worthwhile to counteract your sleep with a sleepover.

“If you’re struggling to stay alert or haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep, a power nap can provide the refreshment you need,” explains Rebecca Robbins, MD, a sleep scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

A power nap “gives people a chance to rest for short periods of time to boost workplace productivity,” she says, but power naps are only beneficial when done correctly.

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How long should the power nap be?

Sleep experts say that power naps should be quick and refreshing — usually between 20 and 30 minutes — to increase alertness throughout the day.

“You don’t have to be completely asleep,” says James Maas, a former professor and chair of psychology at Cornell University who coined the term “power nap” more than 50 years ago. “It’s an opportunity to close your eyes, breathe slowly, and recharge.”

For most people, 15 minutes during the rest of the work day should be enough. However, Maas cautions that long naps are counterproductive and even harmful.

“Never take a nap for 60 minutes. If you take a nap longer than 40 minutes, you’re going to feel very sore for an hour or two.”

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Shelby Harris, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Woman’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia: Get a Good Night’s Sleep Without Relying on Medication,” says the best time to take your power nap is between 1 and 3 p.m. , because taking a nap at any time later in the day “can interfere with your sleep at night.”

health benefits of power naps

Research has shown that the power nap works. A recent study by the Better Sleep Council (BSc) found that one in five working Americans take naps during the workday, with 87% feeling refreshed afterward.

Sleep experts say the finding isn’t surprising. Unlike coffee or soda, which will “harm your sleep at night and provide short-term energy for only about 30 minutes,” Robbins says it is a great way to improve workplace performance, strengthen memory, and boost creativity. Power naps are a healthy option.

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Harris adds that taking naps also has long-term health benefits, such as improving your mood and aiding in stress management.

“Power naps can reduce accidents and mistakes, as well as improve attention, alertness, concentration, and performance. They can also be used to combat sleep driving when a person is driving just before getting behind the wheel. Take short naps,” she says.

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Why do I get nervous even after taking a nap?

The nap isn’t for everyone. Some people report feeling more tired after a 20-minute snooze than before lying down.

Robbins says, “It’s possible that someone didn’t set their alarm or snooze and blow off for 20 minutes. If you interrupt yourself in the wrong phase[of sleep]that’s when you’re anxious.” ” “Actually shoot for that 20 to 30 minutes and plan accordingly. If you think it will take 5 minutes to fall asleep, set an alarm for 25 or 35 minutes to focus on that.”

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Maas says that initial panic is usually only temporary, and something as simple as splashing cold water on your face can get you back in action.

“That normal circadian dip isn’t going to last forever,” he says. “You’re going to get a second wind of your energy, and feeling a little nervous won’t last long.”

Sleep experts give tips for getting the most out of your power nap.

  • Set a comfortable place and time to sleep: If you are working from home, take a nap in a setting in which you are able to lie down, rather than sitting in your bed or at your desk.
  • put your alarm off the bed: To curb the temptation to hit that snooze button, power nappers should set their alarm farther from the bed to physically get up and turn it off, advises Harris.
  • Do some daylight exposure after your nap: Do not stay in the dark after 20 minutes. Maas says it’s best to get up, walk around, and see some sunshine to deal with any nervousness.
  • Avoid naps if you have trouble sleeping at night: Anyone with symptoms such as insomnia should avoid sleeping during the day, warns Robbins. “Power naps are not for people who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night.”

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