Experimenting with Powernaps
I’ve been dealing with a lot of exhaustion lately and have been experimenting with 10 and 20 minute power naps to try to counter the problem. I’m finding them to be very helpful. Longer naps would be ideal, but I don’t have time. A 10-minute nap is faster than finding a cup of coffee and drinking it.
How Long to Nap For?
The first things that I had read about power naps said that 20-minute naps were ideal, but then I read this post:
Measurements and Results: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.
Another study showed benefits of 90-minute naps:
At 2 p.m., the nap group took a 90-minute siesta while the no-nap group stayed awake. Later that day, at 6 p.m., participants performed a new round of learning exercises. Those who remained awake throughout the day became worse at learning. In contrast, those who napped did markedly better and actually improved in their capacity to learn.
These findings reinforce the researchers’ hypothesis that sleep is needed to clear the brain’s short-term memory storage and make room for new information…
I think it depends on what one’s goals are for the nap. If I’m at work and can’t function, I think a 10- or 20-minute nap really helps. If I’m not working that day, then I don’t mind sleeping for longer, especially if I’m feeling like I’m about to get sick or just need to catch up on lost sleep.
How I Powernap
I set my alarm for five minutes longer than I want to sleep. For example, if I am taking a 20-minute nap, I set my alarm for 25 minutes. If I take a 10-minute nap, I set my alarm for 15 minutes.
At the moment, my room overlooks a noisy train station. Sometimes the sound and vibration from riding in a car puts people to sleep. I just imagine that the train noise is from a car and it’s putting me to sleep. I focus on an imaginary point in front of me and relax. That usually puts me to sleep quickly.
I’d like to write more about sleep and memory, but will save that for another blog post
Do you powernap? Do you find it helpful? How do you do it?