Power-Napping – Switch Off to Power Up
It’s 2pm in the afternoon; Kelly and her colleagues are stuck at their workstations. Everyone looks dull, tired and sleepy and Kelly is no exception. It’s been a hectic day and the worst is yet to come because her boss is breathing down her neck for the report to be on his desk before the end of the day, her kids have to be picked from school and she really must pass by the grocery store to pick up some supplies. Kelly has to do all this but right now she is feeling really tired and stressed out, let alone sleepy. So she takes a quick 20 minute ‘power-nap’ to revitalize and reignite her. An hour later all her colleagues are asking her what the secret is because she seems to be back on top of her game.
Power-napping is a practice that will maximise the benefits of sleep against time. It is a sort of supplement to normal sleep, mostly when one is not getting enough sleep. James Maas, a Social Psychologist at Cornell University came up with the expression ‘power-nap’, a short sleep ending just before the beginning of deep sleep. It is intended to refresh and revitalize someone especially if they are having a sleep deficit. The exact duration of a power-nap varies from 15 to 30 minutes; not too short to leave you dizzy but not too long for one to enter a deep sleep.
For a long time, research has been carried out to ascertain what the exact benefits of this ‘power-napping’ really are. Without a doubt, plenty of positive results have been discovered including the improvement of certain memory functions. A team of doctors, led by Alan Hobson and Robert Stickgold at Harvard University discovered that a midday snooze reverses information overload and so they concluded that, “The bottom line is: we should stop feeling guilty about taking that ‘power-nap’ at work.” Having discovered that “burnout” irritation, frustration and poorer performance on a mental task can emerge as a day of training progresses, Sara Mednick, Stickgold and colleagues also proved that, in some cases, napping could boost performance to an individual’s top levels.
Individuals for whom a power-nap will be of great help will include those traveling between time zones, those working long hours and needing a break to re-focus, students with rigorous schedules or preparing for exams, busy mothers with young children and whoever else wants to supplement on their sleeping schedule so that they attain better results without falling asleep entirely. People who often take these power-naps eventually get to learn what duration, position, environment and related factors will help them attain maximum results.