The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is – it depends.
Studies have shown that a nap can help alleviate daytime sleepiness, but more importantly, it can help boost mental performance, alertness, memory and even lift your mood.1-3
For drowsy drivers, a power nap could save lives.3
So what’s the downside?
Well, there isn’t a downside if you learn to nap ‘correctly’. The negative impact of daytime sleeps usually occurs because people nap for too long or at the wrong time of day.4
Short naps (less than 30 minutes) are best because they allow you to rest your body and mind without falling into one of the deeper stages of sleep. (If you’d like to learn more about the sleep cycle, check out this article). If you enter the deeper stages of sleep during a nap you will wake up feeling groggy and not really refreshed.2 It may also affect your night-time sleep quality, which defeats the purpose.4
Scientists have found that napping for 30 minutes delivers “better memory recall and superior overall cognition” when compared with people who either didn’t nap or napped for too long. (Cognition is just a medical term referring to the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension.)
Tips for better napping
- Set an alarm so you don’t fall into a deep sleep – 20 to 30 minutes is best
- Take a nap in the early afternoon (say 2pm). It’s not recommended that you nap after 3pm because it might interfere with your night-time sleep4
- Make sure the napping environment is relaxing, quiet and a comfortable temperature. If there is too much light, you might find a sleeping mask from the Dreamlight range a great investment. And if noise is an issue, check out the Otifleks Earplugs range to block out unwanted noise or distractions
- Learning to nap in a chair rather than a bed or couch/sofa means you can reap the benefits anywhere – there may also be less risk of falling into a deep sleep compared to your normal bed for night-time sleeping
- If you’re looking for a real performance boost, Pro-Power nappers drink coffee immediately before napping.5 It may sound counter intuitive, but caffeine takes 20 minutes or more to affect your system, which means when you wake up from your 20-30 minute nap, you’re charged and ready to go. It’s sometimes called a ‘Napspresso’.