Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Power Nap is Good, But Don't Turn It Into a Deep Sleep

Despite our best efforts, we’re not always able to get a full night’s rest. If you can’t just fix your sleep problems, a quick nap might do the trick — but only if you time it just right.
ABC News reporter Joseph Brownstein spoke with Rosalind Cartwright, chairman of the department of psychology at Rush University, and Dr. Alon Avidan, the associate director of the sleep disorders program at UCLA. Collectively they noted that a power nap of about 15 to 20 minutes is your best bet when you’re feeling weary, but only if taken between 1:00 and 3:00 PM in the afternoon. Here’s why:
The longer you nap, the more likely you are to wake up from deep sleep, leading you to feel confused and groggy. [Also, i]f you sleep [too late in the day], the tendency would be to get into the first deep sleep of the night from which you would wake groggy and grouchy.
Basically, you’re not going to feel great post-nap if you end up in a deep sleep. You also risk the possibility of throwing off your circadian rhythm by entering that deep sleep or just sleeping at all too late in the day. While any sleep will improve your cognitive ability, it seems you can only sleep during the day without consequences if you time it just right.


  1. Please list any company that will allow their employees to naps between 1:00 and 3:00 PM in the afternoon so that I can apply there.

    Otherwise, work for yourself and control your schedule.

  2. ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz.........

    1. Never head of it, is this in Spain perhaps, known for their siestas

    2. I see that you slipped into deep sleep zzzzzzzz contrary to the article. Please try again and report your findings.

  3. Harold in MarylandJuly 19, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    I think the post about pregnant Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, was a bit harsh. What does that have to do with power knapping? Nothing, but power napping doesn't have much to do with Economic Policy, either! :P

  4. Very interesting. I have for years avoided falling asleep behind the wheel by pulling off the road and dozing anywhere between a few seconds and a minute or two. I have no idea why that refreshes me, but the key appears to be relaxation. I'm always back on the road in 5 - 10 minutes, with no hint of sleepiness.

  5. I have sleep apnea, I discovered after I had a "significant arrhythmic event" that put me down in a parking lot, took me to the edge of death, including the death endorphin release (which was very pleasant, euphoric, btw) and since I have studied my sleep in detail, including brain waves, sleep stages, breathing, accelerometer positioning of my body, etc.

    I know sleep.

    I concur with the post. If you are ass-dragging, a 20 min. nap going into light sleep or maybe REM (if you have narcolepsy tendencies like I do, you will go into REM) is restorative and proceeding to deep, which often does come in the first hour or so, and waking from deep is really a bother (yes, very groggy, low performance) and hitting deep would likely would mess with your sleep the next night.

  6. Do you count napping as a bathroom or snack break or unbillable time? This would work for cops but not for firemen.

  7. Since I go into REM most every nap and since I dream about addressing customer issues, I bill for it. :)