FACT : 20 minutes of mid day napping is more beneficial than 20 minute more sleep in the morning Body becomes tired after 8 hours of waking up.
Think About it. We sleep 8 hours a day and work efficiently for the first half of our day. What if we could take a half an our days break and get the second half of the day equally efficient. That’s what power naps do to us. Doing it right is key. Too long or too short a power nap and you have the chances of ruining the benefits altogether or you may not just get the right effect from it. If you nap longer, chances are you will feel groggy and irritable for a few minutes, but there are benefits and ill effects, both , of napping longer. Let’s discuss some of the benefits of napping , in general. Now for this section, we are choosing to keep the nap time to a bit less than 30 minutes. The optimum time for a good nap is between 10-20 minutes.
The Sleep Medicine And Research Center on their research looked at effectiveness of caffeine and taking naps for people on night shifts. The result concluded that Naps and Caffeine Both were effective in improving alertness and performance in night shift works but the combination of both had the best benefits
Sleep Inertia: Naps are great but if you do it wrong then you risk feeling a lot worse. Apart from the fact that you really don’t want to get off from your nap, the chances are that if you nap too short (less than 10 minutes), you don’t benefit at all and if you sleep a little longer (more than 30 minutes) you feel Groggy. If you feel groggy chances are that it will last up to half an hour to get out of the sleep “hangover”. You will feel a lot better after half an hour and a coffee could boost your performance after the nap.
May affect night time sleep : This is one of the biggest concerns in nappers. If you sleep for more than 30 minutes, you end up in the second or third phase of your sleep which activates your REM and chances are its going to mess your Circadian rhythm and your night sleep cycle. Nap for 20 minutes. The sweet spot is 26 minutes.
Some indications of Heart failure for those already at risk : This is not really proven but research indicates people who already have a heart condition should avoid habitual napping.
FACT : Albert Einstein reportedly slept for 10 hours a night, plus daytime naps.
While naps are considered good for health lately and a lot of new benefits are researched, its not a well accepted practice especially in places of work and business. Many companies think that napping at work is a sign of poor performance even today. Some of the big corporates though are turning this practice positively and encouraging people to nap when they are tired. The japanese have a term for sleeping at work and its called inemuri which translates to “sleeping while present”. Employees are allowed to nap while at work because they understand the increase in performance levels after the nap, but yes there is a stigma in many companies and cultures which believe napping indicates Laziness, Lack of ambition and more. This is most common in people in the demographics of 10-55. Many believe that only children and elders are the only one who need a nap. In reality, anyone , at any age could benefit a lot by a short 15 minute nap once or twice a day.
Naps fall under 3 major categories and yes there is a fourth kind which is Just for Fun Nap. Just as the name explains, you nap because you just want to nap. But most people nap for a purpose and its either to get some benefit out of it or its habitual.
Planned napping : If You have ever had the need to stay awake late for a project or if there was a party you would have to attend later in the evening which may delay your usual sleep time, a planned nap may be perfect for you. Nap 3 hours prior to the usual sleep time and expect to stay awake longer at night. If you are expecting to sleep by 11 PM while your sleep time is usually around 9, get a nap around 7 pm. A planned Nap can get your more time and energy go late at night.
Emergency Napping : Emergency naps are very common for people who have long drives to take. More than 4-5 hours of driving could usually require a break. Take a nap for 15 minutes and you could go on for another 4 hours. Going without sleep for more than 18 hours will make you feel like your alcohol level is .05 (.08 is considered drunk). A nap could take the edge off and add it with a bit of coffee and you will feel a lot more energized with higher alertness.
Habitual Napping : Habitual napping is common among many people. My dad usually naps 40 minutes after lunch and its a routine which he will now change. Its a habit which is inculcated. Many schools do allow kids to nap for 30 minutes after lunch to ensure that they are attentive for the rest of the day.
Sleep Has 4 stages or phases.
The first stage of sleep is the NREM State this is usually 5-10 minutes from the moment you fall asleep. Waking up from this phase is easy and most people who wake up during this phase will tell you that they weren’t asleep, just had their eyes shut.
The second phase of sleep is also a NREM Stage where in you are preparing to go into deep sleep. This stage usually lasts about 20 minutes. This is the sweet spot for a nap. Your heart rate will go down and your eyes you will notice very slow eye movement. Your body temperature will drop a degree or two. Your brain activity will slow down and your muscles will relax. This phase is relatively a light sleep. Waking up during this phase may be a bit easier than on stage 3. Wake up on the 25th or 26th minute for the best results.
The third stage is the NREM stage 3 And during stage 3 you will see that the brainwave slows down further, muscle relaxes completely and your temperature goes down further. This is the deep sleep stage and at this stage you may find it difficult to wake up. If you do wake up, chances are that you will feel groggy. You may need up to 30 minutes to recover from the groggy-ness and coffee could really help.
The Fourth Stage is the REM stage. At this stage, your body is immobilized. Brain activity is high. You start seeing dreams and you have rapid eye movements. This is the deep sleep phase.
Naps usually fall into the stage one and stage two. Going into stage three will usually interfere with your nighttime sleep.
|Time / Duration||Effect|
|10 Minutes||Alert and attentive for 3 hours|
|20 Minute||Boosts Energy and its easy to wake up from nap|
|30 Minute||Has its own benefits but harder to wake up. Feels groggy|
|1 Hour||Improves Short term memory, but you feel groggy.|
|1:30 Hours||Creativity Improves, Grogginess|
Short Naps : A nap is different from sleep. Expect to wake up after 20-30 minutes. Don’t go any further than 30 minutes. The right time would be 25-26 minutes. Going further than 30 minutes will put you in a deep sleep mode and delay your night time sleep.
Sleep Environment : Choose a right spot. If you are at work, find a spot which is dark, silent and cool.
Time of Nap : The best time to nap is between 1 and 3 pm. This will ensure that you have a great few hours after the nap and also a good night’s sleep later. If you nap later than 4 pm, expect your sleep time to delay.
Get a cup of coffee before your nap. The caffeine will take up to 30 minutes to be on your system and will stay there for 4-6 hours. Coffee just before your nap will not affect your nap and you will find it far easier to wake up.
Set an alarm : Setting an alarm is a good habit. Most often you would fall into deep sleep and find it hard to wake up if you are not woken up in time. Setting an alarm will ensure that you wake up before you fall into a deep sleep (NREM 3).
Sleep Mask : If you are at work or if you are sleeping in a bright area, consider getting a sleep mask. Its cheap and very effective to keep your eyes shut when you are napping in a bright area.
Take of Extra Layers of Clothing, Jackets, scarf etc : Napping is relaxation and you don’t really feel relaxed with those extra layers on you. For men, roll your sleeves and unbutton your top buttons and get your tie off. Your blazer or coat can go too. For women, Get your sweaters off. It may not be possible to get too comfortable and you don’t want to be very comfortable. Remember, it’s nap, not a good night’s sleep.
Turn off The phone : It happens a lot that you are 5 minutes down the line and there is a call. You have just wasted 5 minutes and chances are you wont be able to nap again for a few hours. Keep your phone off or on silent. Ensure that there are no disturbances for the few minutes you are on siesta.
2 Hours before Important meetings or demanding tasks : A big meeting ahead? An important task which requires your attention ahead? Nap 2 hours before the event. You will be fresh and ready for it and feel a lot more confident.
Keep Blanket / Sheets handy. Expect to go cold : Last but not the least, expect it to get cold. Naps will drop your body temperature up to 2 degrees and in some case more. Its going to get cold and a sheet or blanket may come handy.
Insomnia : If you are one of those who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia, DO NOT NAP. Nap may be beneficial for a lot of people but if you have sleep disorders, chances are you will make things worse by napping now and losing sleep at night. A night time sleep should last at least 8 hours but if its going to be less than 6, you could add a few naps in between. But if your sleep is less than 6 hours, chances are you are not going to fill in the gap with 15 minute naps every few hours. Sleep Debt will catch up soon and in insomnia patients, this could be a lot faster and worse says mayoclinic.
People Who can’t process information after a nap : Some people tend to feel groggy and hard to process information after a short nap. This may last for a few minutes up to half an hour. If you are one of those few who are in need to complete a task immediately after a nap ( a doctor to perform a surgery) its recommended that you not nap or you plan the nap accordingly to commence 2 hours prior to the event.
Feel disoriented after a nap : Its rare, but some people wake up from a nap and look around all confused. They are really not sure if they are at work, home or in some cases they wonder if they are dreaming. This usually happens for people who go into REM mode faster than others and wake up after 20 minutes and usually 3-5 minutes into phase 3 of the sleep. If you are one of those who can hit the button so fast and go to sleep instantly, we recommend that you either cut your nap time by a few minutes or completely avoid naps.
Lack of Productivity after a nap :The problem with people is that naps usually are hard to get out of. 15 minutes of luxury is too less. You really want a bit more of the good stuff and when you get a bit more, you feel groggy and the whole cycle becomes unproductive. With naps, if you cant control, you better keep off. You dont want to end up snoring at work
FACT : Caffeine in coffee takes up to half an hour to have an alerting effect, hence “a short (<15min) nap will not be compromised if it is taken immediately after the coffee.
Its interesting to know that coffee takes up to 15 minutes to take effect and will be in your bloodstream completely after 30 minutes of consumption. So if you drink up in 5 minutes you will still have 10 minutes head start for it to start effect. So ensure that your coffee is not too hot to consume and you will have 5 minutes to consume it. Nap immediately and wake up in 20 minutes for a fresh start.
Research : Sara Mednick conducted a study experimenting on the effects of napping, caffeine, and a placebo. Her results showed that a 60–90-minute nap is more effective than caffeine in memory and cognition.
While coffee alone may get you to be alert for a few minutes, A combination of coffee and a nap would benefit a lot more. Consuming coffee before a nap will enable you to get out of the nap much more easily. The caffeine will kick in after 20 minutes of your nap and you will not feel groggy when you wake up. The caffeine also ensures that you don’t get into deep sleep mode. Consuming a coffee after a nap is good but it will not help you wake up if you go into deep sleep mode.
Research : those occasionally napping had a 12% lower coronary mortality, whereas those systematically napping had a 37% lower coronary mortality.
Tips : Power Napping Enablers and sleep timers allow properly timed power napping.
Tips : The National Institute of Mental Health funded a team of doctors, led by Alan Hobson, MD, Robert Stickgold, PhD, and colleagues at Harvard University for a study which showed that a midday snooze reverses information overload.
RESEARCH : The 5-minute nap produced few benefits in comparison with the no-nap control. The 10-minute nap produced immediate improvements in all outcome measures (including sleep latency, subjective sleepiness, fatigue, vigor, and cognitive performance), with some of these benefits maintained for as long as 155 minutes. The 20-minute nap was associated with improvements emerging 35 minutes after napping and lasting up to 125 minutes after napping. The 30-minute nap produced a period of impaired alertness and performance immediately after napping, indicative of sleep inertia, followed by improvements lasting up to 155 minutes after the nap .
While naps are excellent remedy to ward of tiredness and weariness, it cannot replace sleep. A short nap cannot be an alternative to a good night’s sleep and should not be replaced. Get 8-9 hours of sleep for better performance and get a midday nap to get the energy required. If you don’t have a good night’s sleep, the nap can get you going for a few hours but sleep debt often catches along creating a lot of health and psychological problems.
Quote : Pete Hamill once said, “The replenishing thing that comes with a nap — you end up with two mornings in a day.”
Fun Fact : Scientists have shown that a 60- to 90-minute siesta can charge up the brain’s batteries as much as eight hours tucked up in bed.
Experiments : participants who napped three times per week had a 37% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
REsearch : Reporting in Nature Neuroscience, Sara Mednick, PhD, Stickgold and colleagues also demonstrated that “burnout” irritation, frustration and poorer performance on a mental task can set in as a day of training wears on. This study also proved that, in some cases, napping could even boost performance to an individual’s top levels.
Uber : Uber has been in a lot of regulatory battles. Unlike the companies which had a presence for more than a decade, uber is a new player and they do their best to keep on par with the regulations. Uber allows their employees to nap and provides a dedicated space to nap in the office.
Huffington Post : Creative work and specially in the press and media industry is tiring and people hardly get enough time to rest. News and publication is constant and being huffington post is in no way small. Huffington post allows their employees to nap at work and have a dedicated nap pod which costs $8000 a piece. https://www.businessinsider.com/huffington-post-nap-room-2012-10?IR=T
Google : Google is one of the first few companies which make workplace fun. People could wear what they were comfortable in, Take their pets to work and even skate around. But then the Nap pods were one of the few additions which seemed less important at that time with so much to go around. Yes google allows napping at work and they have nap pods in place for their employees.
Samsung : Samsung too Provides the Best nap pods, MetroNaps for their employees. Employees are encouraged to take naps at work when required and get back when they are fresh and ready.
Zappos : I would rank Zappos next to google when it comes to company culture. A room dedicated to relaxation for your employees. That’s very thoughtful. The Zappos Nap room is not a simple one. You have a 35000 Saltwater aquarium, 4 massage chairs and a nap pod. I wouldn’t know a better way to siesta!
NASA : Nasa is one of the few companies which did research on sleep and Naps. They understood the value of naps and encouraged employees to nap at work when required. Most Nasa employees had a high level of responsibility and little margin of error. Naps were important and a good space to Nap was just as important. Metronaps is also the nap pod provider for Nasa.
Other Companies who have incorporated nap facilities or nap pods include
Unfortunately Some companies did not find the benefit of napping at work and the whole nap program back fired. Askfortasks.com saw a 35% decrease in productivity over the period of 6 months after implementing nap pods at work . I wouldn’t know who is to blame, the company culture which puts in a fixed time of work (9 to 5 scenario) or companies like google which encourage working at your own pace to get results. Many employees in google tend to work at their own pace. Many would probably work more than 9-10 hours and spend a great amount of time at the premises. Whatever the reason, you can expect setbacks in some companies.
Thomas Alva Edison : Known for only 4 hours of sleep at night but took several power naps throughout the day
Leanardo Da vinci : Da Vinci was known to take 15 minute naps every 4 hours to recharge himself. He would never miss a nap and it was habitual and part of his routine.
Bill Clinton : Known for napping in inappropriate places and time, bill says that he would steal 15 -30 minute naps when he could, specially when he couldn’t get enough sleep at night.
Margaret Thatcher : The Iron Lady was known to sleep only 4 hours at night but ensured that she was not disturbed come hell or high water from 2:30-3:30 pm. Nap time of 1 hour got her working for the next few hours.
Winston Churchil : Winston churchil had a bed in the office where he could get a short nap when he needed it most. He believed nature did not
Albert einstein : The famous scientist slept 10 hours a day and took occasional naps during the day. He was consistent about his need for sleep and an icon who believes less sleep isn’t necessarily good for creativity
Arnold Schwarzenegger : The body builder and governor of california took naps during the day when required after a 2 hour regimen in the gym the 72 year old has shown the world that rest, diet and workout are important to be successful.
Coming Soon :
Introducing Metronaps – The Nap Pod Creators For Workspace
Could a sudden increased need for naps indicate a health problem?