The key is to not let your power nap go too long! The benefits of power naps can actually be damaged by sleeping longer because waking after the body has gone into deep sleep can make a person wake up feeling fuzzy and still tired.
A foggy brain struggling to focus and make decisions is an impaired brain. A NASA study showed that a 30-minute nap improved cognitive abilities by roughly 40 percent. Other studies suggest that with a 20-minute nap, the brain can become fully loaded again, neurons fire more effectively and we reap the benefits of being more alert, able to think clearer, enhancing our memories, our ability to problem solve, come up with creative ideas, work efficiently and learn new information.
Power naps also increase energy and stamina: Studies show that short naps revive physical energy and increase stamina and endurance, ultimately affecting performance.
Tips for taking a power nap
- Find a way to block environmental noise. If your office has a door, close it. Consider headphones that provide only quiet.
- Consider headphones that will let you listen to a relaxation or meditation tape if outright sleep seems impossible.
- Purchase a small alarm clock or a watch with an alarm feature, or download an alarm app. One of the biggest fears related to daytime napping is not waking up on schedule.
- Consider accessories that will enhance relaxation: a neck-pillow, like the ones used by airline passengers; a light blanket, to keep you from becoming chilled while relaxed.
- Take your shoes off and loosen your tie.