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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.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.