Mobe | Is there such a thing as a power nap?

Is there such a thing as a power nap?

Sometimes, you need the pick-me-up that only a nap can offer. But how do you nap so you don’t wake up disoriented or ready for more sleep? Sleep experts have studied napping and have answers to the “where’s, what’s, and how’s” of effective napping. Learn how to enjoy the benefits of a short snooze without affecting your night-time rest.

The research says “yes” to naps (for most people).

Catching some zzz’s in the middle of the day offers benefits like these:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Improved performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory

The key is to nap with intention.

Brief afternoon naps can boost alertness, especially if they're planned and strategically placed in your day. Here’s what experts recommend:

  • Set an alarm: A short nap is best (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness. You get the energy boost and improved performance without grogginess or risk to your nighttime sleep. (1)
  • Create the right environment: Make sure that you have a restful place to lie down and that the temperature in the room is comfortable. Try to limit noise and light. (1)
  • Time it right: Most of us have a natural dip in energy between 2 and 4 in the afternoon. That can be the sweet spot for re-energizing you without affecting your nighttime sleep patterns.(2)

So, who should nap?

You might consider making time for a nap if you:

  • Experience new fatigue or unexpected sleepiness.
  • Need to reduce the risk of drowsiness before driving.
  • Are about to experience sleep loss — for example, due to a long work shift.
  • Work the night shift and need to reset your energy.
  • Want to make planned naps part of your daily routine.

After napping, give yourself time to wake up before resuming activities—particularly those that require a quick or sharp response.

Let a MOBE Guide change the way you sleep.

Our Guides have helped hundreds of people like you discover science-backed techniques that transform their sleep habits. Find out what strategies they’d suggest for your sleep challenges – including the well-placed power nap.

Schedule an appointment online or get the MOBE Health Guide app to chat today.

References

If there's no obvious cause of new fatigue in your life, talk to your doctor if your need to nap is unusual. This could be caused by a medication, a sleep disorder, or other medical condition that's disrupting your nighttime sleep.
1. National Sleep Foundation. Napping. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/napping. Accessed April 24, 2020.
2. Mayo Clinic. Napping: Do’s and don’ts for healthy adults. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319. Accessed April 24, 2020.
3. Milner CE, et al. Benefits of napping in healthy adults: Impact of nap length, time of day, age and experience with napping. Journal of Sleep Research. 2009;18:272.
4. Cline, J. Caffeine Naps? Research shows that a cup of coffee can boost a nap. Psychology Today. Dec 31, 2018. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleepless-in-america/201812/caffeine-naps

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