Did you know adding a few “Zzz’s” to your afternoon routine can be a powerful way to boost mental alertness and overall performance? Here are a few research studies supporting the power in power napping:
A study from Liverpool John Moores University in London found that participants who took a 30-minute power nap after lunch had a lower resting heart rate, reduced body temperature and improved alertness, short-term memory, accuracy, and speed in a 20-meter sprint.
In a study from NASA, scientists reported that 24-minute power naps significantly improved a pilot’s alertness and performance on trans-Atlantic flights.
Research from Cornell University shows that short power naps help us feel more energized because the brain is more active after a nap than without one.
Now let’s take a look at some best practices and benefits of power napping!
How long should a typical adult nap last?
The optimal power nap time is between 15 and 30 minutes. Shorter naps don’t work. Longer naps cause deep sleep which will cause grogginess and can interfere with sleep later that night.
When should a typical adult nap?
The best time to power nap is between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. when energy levels dip due to a rise in the hormone melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles) at that time of day. Later afternoon naps can cause a shift in the biological clock, making it harder to fall asleep at night and get up the next morning.
Caffeine and Power Naps.
Research suggests that we can get maximum benefits by consuming caffeine (Spark, Slam, coffee or tea as examples) about two-three minutes before starting a power nap. Why? Since it takes about 20-30 minutes for the body to fully absorb caffeine, it will kick in about the time we wake up from a nap. And, since caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that increases alertness, the combination of the kick you get from caffeine and the refreshed feeling produced by the nap can give you and extra boost of extra energy when you wake up.*
Different Naps for Different Circumstances.
There are two types of naps recommended and each is appropriate for different circumstances. “Replacement Naps” are longer, about 90 minutes, and are useful when we need to repay a sleep debt. “Power Naps” are shorter and used to improve alertness and performance. Keep them short, about 15 to 30 minutes. Set an alarm clock before power naps to ensure that we wake up feeling refreshed and energized as opposed to waking up in in a “zombie” state.
A power nap can help power your body any day of the week! So, even if you work a job or have a lifestyle that makes it difficult to fit in a power nap on week days, you can still experience the benefits — even on the weekends or your days off.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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