There’s a potent alternative to your afternoon espresso: the power nap. Unlike the temporary energy spikes ignited by caffeinated or sugary drinks, a power nap offers a number of more reliable benefits to get you through the workday.
According to leading napping researcher Dr. Sara Mednick, a power nap can increase productivity, sharpen memory and lower stress. In general, napping benefits overall health such as heart function and circulation, but not all naps are equal. Mednick’s research reveals that the length of a nap determines its benefits. So, the next time you feel yourself fading, give yourself a break to recharge:
- 10-20 minutes: According to WebMD, a 10-20-minute power nap sharpens motor skills and increases energy and alertness without leaving you groggy when you wake up
- 30-60 minutes: The same article notes that a 30-60-minute nap improves your memory and decision-making ability but could cause grogginess and disorientation
- 90 minutes: According to the The Wall Street Journal, a full sleep cycle occurs within 90 minutes, resulting in increased creativity, a lifted mood and mental clarity with no grogginess afterward
Most of us don’t have time for a full 90 minutes, so a 20-25-minute nap is optimal for increasing energy without wasting time. For some perspective, it takes 30 minutes for caffeine to get into the bloodstream. In the same amount of time, you could be taking a nap and feeling energized and refreshed.
Photo Credit: Kayla Ann via Flickr.