The benefits of power naps

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Seventh, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. Seventh

    Seventh Super Sexy Sushi Time

    What is sleep and it’s stages?

    You have two kinds of “sleep”, Non- REM, and REM. Non-REM (NREM), consists of four stages of sleep, each deeper than the last. These stages are:

    Stage 1 (Transition to sleep) – This first stage lasts for about five minutes, give or take. Your eyes move slowly under the eyelids, muscle activity slows down, and you are easily awakened. This stage is the stage where you enter sleep.

    Stage 2 (Light sleep) – Second stage of sleep, lasting from 10 to 25 minutes. Eye movement stops, heart rate slows, and body temperature decreases.

    Stage 3 (Deep sleep) – Third stage of sleep, where you’re difficult to awaken. If you are awakened, you do not adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes, hence that nauseous feeling after rudely being awakened by some rude person.

    Stage 4 (Intense deep sleep) – Fourth stage of sleep, and the deepest stage of sleep. Brain waves are extremely slow; with blood flow is directed away from the brain and towards the muscles, restoring physical energy.

    REM sleep occurs about 70 to 90 minutes after falling asleep, which is where dreaming occurs. Eyes move rapidly (hence REM or rapid eye movement), breathing is shallow, heart rate and blood pressure increase, and arm and leg muscles are paralyzed.


    What does a power nap have to do with this and how is it any different from a regular naps?

    A power nap is a short nap (between 20-30 minutes), which ends before the occurrence of deep sleep or slow-wave sleep (SWS), intended to quickly revitalize the individual in question. Once reaching stage three, waking up becomes extremely hard. Failing to complete the normal sleep cycle can result in a phenomenon known as sleep inertia, where one feels groggy, disoriented and basically crappier compared to the beginning of a nap. This is because you are basically disrupting your bodies natural sleep cycle and it doesn’t like it one bit. With regular naps, you can sometimes wake up and experience this, resulting from negative gains. Power naps however, are designed to prevent “Nappers” from entering that state of deep sleep (Stage 3) and disrupting the sleep cycle, while still supplementing normal sleep.

    Researchers have found in recent years that the human body requires only as much sleep, as the brain will allow it. In other words, so long as the brain is functioning at full capacity, there’s no great requirement for sleep (except for repairing the body). The big thing is however is that the brain needs a rest every now and then. You brain is like a gas tank. It needs to be refilled and re energized, except instead of gas, it needs sleep. This can be accomplished with just a short, 20-minute power nap.

    The benefits of power naps include but not limited too:

    1. Get motivated to exercise.

      More zzz’z equals more energy for workouts, especially when you haven’t been sleeping well. Getting proper sleep provides your body and mind energy, equaling more intense workouts, which can help aid you in getting stronger faster or losing weight.

      “If you want to increase your chances of losing weight, reduce your stress level and get adequate sleep. A new Kaiser Permanente study found that people trying to lose at least 10 pounds were more likely to reach that goal if they had lower stress levels and slept more than six hours but not more than eight hours a night.” (Science Daily)

    2. Increased cognitive functioning.

      “In a recent study, researchers at NASA showed that a 30-minute power nap increased cognitive faculties by approximately 40 percent! Tests carried out on one thousand volunteers proved that those who continued working without rest, made lower scores in intelligence tests like the IQ test. More importantly, their capacities to work and memorize decreased in comparison to those who napped after lunch.
      In concordance with NASA’s work, biology students at Berkeley determined that the nap must be short in order to produce maximum effectiveness. Over forty five minutes, the beneficial effects of napping disappear and it is therefore suggested to take a fifteen to thirty five minute “power nap”. This is the time necessary for the organism to rest and enables brain neurons to recuperate.”

    3. Increased alertness and productivity.

      Lets face it; you have better reflexes awake and alert then sluggish and sleep deprived.

      “It turns out that toddlers are not the only ones who do better after an afternoon nap. New research has found that young adults who slept for 90 minutes after lunch raised their learning power, their memory apparently primed to absorb new facts.” (Flores)



    4. Less stress.

      Stress is linked to our body’s natural fight or flight response. When you encounter things that you perceive as a threat (A dog barking at you or dealing with financial issues), your body goes into that mode, releasing both adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol is the main stress hormone and increases glucose levels in the bloodstream and availability of substances that aid in tissue repair. Cortisol also inhibits any function that would be nonessential or detrimental to the fight or flight response, alters the immune system, and suppresses the digestive system, reproductive system, and growth process.

      Your bodies will self regulate itself and decrease hormone levels so it may return the body to normal, but with stress surrounding us in daily life, we constantly stay on edge, and in that flight or fight mode. With long term activation of said mode it can lead to overexposure of stress hormones and disruption of body processes, resulting in increased risk of numerous health problems.

      Naps can help with these issues as they can act as a stress relieving activity, similar to going out for a vacation. Sleep deprivation can also be a contributor to stress. When you stress, your regular sleep schedule can be impacted, resulting in loss of sleep. That loss of sleep will contribute to your stress level, and the cycle continues. However, by catching up on sleep via nap, you serve to decrease your stress levels, and will have served to help stop the cycle. After taking nap, you will feel refreshed, have lowered stress levels, and will have to energy to tackle the things left that are causing you stress.

      More about stress:

    Are naps for everyone?

    Napping isn’t for everyone though. If your sleep cycle is and has been hectic for an extended period of time (ex. Insomnia, Depression, and Chronic Sleep Disorder), a nap would serve to throw your Circadian rhythm into further chaos.

    Also, to be safe, you should always consult a doctor before venturing into anything new involving your body.

    Besides that, you should take naps. Naps are energizing. Naps are fun.

    Naps are cool.


    "Nap." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 30 July 2011 at 19:45. Web. 4 Aug 2011. <>.

    "Power nap." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 29 June 2011 at 01:03.. Web. 4 Aug 2011. <>.

    "10 benefits of power napping and how to do it." Ririanproject. September 4 . Web. 4 Aug 2011. <>.

    N/A, . "How Much Sleep Do You Need?." HelpGuide, July 2011. Web. 4 Aug 2011. <>.
    "Can Napping at Work Increase Your Productivity?." Medical News Today. N.p., 08 Nov 2003. Web. 20 Aug 2011. <>.

    Mayo Clinic Staff, . "Stress: Constant stress puts your health at risk." May Clinic. May Clinic, Sept. 11, 2010. Web. 20 Aug 2011. <>.

    "The Effect of Brief Naps on Alertness and Cognitive Performance." Tasty Research. N.p., October 13, 2006. Web. 20 Aug 2011. <>.

    Kaiser Permanente. "Moderate sleep and less stress may help with weight loss." ScienceDaily, 26 May 2011. Web. 20 Aug. 2011. <>.

    Flores, Charina L . "Afternoon Nap is the New Trend in Productivity?." Biznik. N.p., Mar 08, 2010. Web. 20 Aug 2011. <>.

    I would like to give a huge thank you to Simon S for taking the time to give criticism to my article. Tip of a hat and a bowl of sushi to you Sir. Please check out Simon's articles regarding health.
  2. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    Personally I have an odd sleep disorder where I can sleep pretty much anywhere at any time. For instance, I normally sleep 8-10 hours a night, say 2 AM till noon, get up and check my e-mails and if I have nothing to do (which is usual), go back to sleep till 4 PM. I can sleep 20 hours a day on the weekends if I'm bored or the weathers bad. I know I'm missing out on a lot but I don't watch tv, and really don't have much to do other than work...
  3. Microlamia

    Microlamia Banned Banned

    I always feel really alert and strong after taking a 2 hour or so sleep in late afternoon :)
  4. Seventh

    Seventh Super Sexy Sushi Time

  5. Sketco

    Sketco Banned Banned

    Napping right after lunch is awesome. All the blood goes to your stomach while digesting so I take a nap right after I eat, my body wakes me as the blood redistributes and there's no post-lunch lethargy!
  6. Kuma

    Kuma Lurking about

    Working night term and long hours, I am a big fan of power naps myself. If it wasn't for them, some days I would have great difficulty functioning.
  7. ninjaboj

    ninjaboj Banned Banned

    Power naps are important. Please count me in for this one!
  8. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    I am the living example of power naps. I can sleep anywhere and anytime. I only have 3 stages of sleep, going to sleep, sleep, and going to sleep again. I'm not sure exactly how I function at times. My resting heart rate is 42 which is pretty dang low for a 52 year old. I had an EKG a few weeks ago and they did it three times due to the low rate....
  9. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    Great article Seventh!
    I'm going to power nap daily now!
  10. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    My boss doesn't particularly like the napping from noon till two but I can do my job any hours I want as long as it gets done and the heli is free...
  11. Madao13

    Madao13 Valued Member

    Thanks for the article Seventh. I wasn't aware of power nap before. I am gonna try it out.
  12. mmagap

    mmagap New Member

    i tried sleeping for 2 hours and staying awake for 5 and just keep doing that a few days. 1 it was really hard failing asleep since my brain wasn't used to it and taking naps in the middle of the day became inconvenient since id get woken up by phone calls or something every time. now i just try to get 6-8 hours of sleep tats usually good enough for me and instead of napping i just take 5-10 min breaks every hour of work, that helps a lot and is not as intrusive as a long nap.
  13. serenaryder11

    serenaryder11 New Member

    it's really very nice article. it is really helpful to our health.
  14. ArthurKing

    ArthurKing Valued Member

    I regularly power nap, usually 20 min or so- here's my tips-
    eat and/or drink coffee before napping, as the caffeine kicks in it will wake you up, keeps the nap short!
    don't get too comfy or warm- again you'll sleep too long, so maybe on, not in, bed!
    between 2- 3.30 ish is ideal.
    do it regularly and you'll get good at it.
  15. Zdavemac

    Zdavemac New Member

    If it wasn't for napping I would not be able to get through the day. Good resources, thanks.
  16. seiken steve

    seiken steve golden member

    Great piece seventh!

    I never ever got enough sleep, now I'm working more civilised hours (530-11am 5pm-9pm) I am sleeping plenty and getting in almost daily naps, I feel GREAT. I normally get in a 30-90min nap around miday after lunch, it's become my favourite part of my routine.
  17. Rated Red

    Rated Red ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Supporter

    Great article, happy that I stumbled upon it due to the fact that I've been contemplating this exercise for a while now; it's just trying to find the same time each day when I can do this. Crazy, but I think a part of me feels guilty for resting and not being productive during the 'waking hours'. I should probably figure out why that is because it's causing a resistance to allow myself to rest.
  18. itsthedre

    itsthedre New Member

    Resting heart rate of 42? Hot damn. Do you have bradycardia? lol That's really impressive for anyone, at any age, in any profession.
  19. Dr.Alireza

    Dr.Alireza Valued Member

    Nice post.
    Few years ago in England they started a long study of the sleeping patterns of cats by monitoring a lot of cats to see and learn from their sleeping patterns light sleep and how it effects them. I'm not sure if that study has been completed yet or not but if anyone has any information on it please do share.

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