The art, and science, of power naps

I’ve long wanted to try taking programmed naps or power naps. Studies have indicated that there are health benefits to taking regular naps. The National Institutes of Health in the United States said “evidence is mounting that sleep – even a nap – appears to enhance information processing and learning.”

I don’t get a lot of sleep because of my work hours. Daytime sleep isn’t as satisfying and refreshing as normal overnight sleep. The noise during the day makes its way into your dreams. I once dreamt of being chased by people out to kill me and woke up to shouts of “Patya na!” (Kill him!). It was my neighbor’s teenage son shouting at the top of his voice to egg on Manny Pacquiao in his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.

The remaining days of my vacation might be a good chance to try taking regular 20-minute naps.

Men’s Journal lists different types of naps and their benefits:

NANO-NAP: 10 to 20 seconds Sleep studies haven’t yet concluded whether there are benefits to these brief intervals, like when you nod off on someone’s shoulder on the train.
MICRO-NAP: two to five minutes Shown to be surprisingly effective at shedding sleepiness.
MINI-NAP: five to 20 minutes Increases alertness, stamina, motor learning, and motor performance.
POWER NAP: 20 minutes Includes the benefits of the micro and the mini, but additionally improves muscle memory and clears the brain of useless built-up information, which helps with long-term memory (remembering facts, events, and names).
LAZY MAN’S NAP: 50 to 90 minutes Includes slow-wave plus REM sleep; good for improving perceptual processing; also when the system is flooded with human growth hormone, great for repairing bones and muscles.

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3 responses

  1. Got to your site from BisayaBloggers.

    Was also a part-time resident of Cebu since my mother was from Cebu City.

    Anyway, I can attest to the efficacy of power naps since I did practice it for a quite a time when I was working graveyard over here in the States. Worked the shift for about 10 years.

    At that time then the recommendation was only for 15 minutes. As you may be aware graveyard shift here is from 11pm to 7am and it is almost impossible not to get drowsy during the night.

    And you are right, daytime sleep never gives you the same effects as nighttime sleep. And worse, it was almost impossible for me to sleep through during the day. Thus sleep was limited to 4-5 hours per day.

    The power naps were so effective that I was feeling fresh till the end of the shift. So fresh that at times it was difficult getting to sleep after the shift was over.

    And to add to it, I started jogging during the day. (And I continue to jog to this day.) And I can proudly say that I never got sick enough to require a stay in bed during all those times. As I matter of fact, I not only never incurred any sick time out, but at times had to forego my days off to cover for absent employees.

    Am curious to know how it works for you.

  2. Amadeo,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. It strengthens my resolve to hack my sleeping cycle. I’m the type of person to work and do things after waking up and stop only when I’m about to sleep again (usually around 5 am). Lately I tried taking meditation breaks of 5 minutes. I’m programming my body to take naps. Let’s see if it does help me stay more alert. I’ll write about it here.

  3. clyde l. robinson jr. Avatar
    clyde l. robinson jr.

    Id love to learn more about powernaps, on dvd ,cd , or book, even on vhs,on line.
    my address is 3736 E. nevada st. fresno,ca 93702
    559-287-0240 clyde l robinson jr.

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