Power Nap

I took a power nap today.

I went to bed at around 1:30AM. As usual, I got up at 7:30AM. It wasn’t enough. Today is my busiest day, so I only had an hour and half between classes at lunch.

It was around 1PM and I felt myself getting very drowsy. I decided to have a power nap of about 30 minutes. I’ve noticed that if I take a nap for an hour or more, I will feel drowsy when I wake up. With the power nap, I felt really invigorated and full of energy. I was so full of energy, that I was able to get ready and start a tea all within five minutes.

This involved getting up, getting dressed, putting on my contacts, filling up my bottles of water, going to the bathroom and starting my tea. I was out of the door within another five minutes.

From Wikipedia’s definition of a power nap.

Power-napping is thought by many to maximize the benefits of sleep versus time. This type of sleep pattern is used to supplement normal sleep, especially when the sleeper has accumulated a sleep deficit.

Advocates of this sleep pattern recommend various durations for a power-nap, which are very short compared to regular sleep. The short duration of a power-nap is designed to prevent nappers from sleeping so long that they enter a normal sleep cycle without being able to complete it. Entering a normal sleep cycle, but failing to complete it, can result in a phenomenon known as sleep inertia, causing one to feel groggy, disoriented, and even more sleepy than before beginning the nap. In order to observe maximum post-nap performance, it is critical for a power-nap to be limited to the beginning of a sleep cycle without entering an incompleted deep sleep cycle.

Due to complex circadian clock interactions with homeostatic processes, it is difficult to recommend a total nap time. However, scientific experiments and massive anecdotal evidence suggests that an average power-nap duration of around 20-30 minutes is most effective. People who regularly take power-naps may develop a good idea of what duration works best for them, as well as what tools, environment, position, and associated factors help induce the best results. Some people take power-naps out of necessity, for example, someone who doesn’t get enough sleep at night and is drowsy at work may sleep during his or her lunch break. Others may prefer to regularly take power-naps even if their schedules allow a full night’s sleep.

I like the concept of a caffeine nap. After a nap, I usually drink a strong Orange Pekoe milk tea.

A caffeine nap is a cat-nap that was preceded by the intake of a caffeinated beverage such as coffee, tea, or an energy drink. A caffeine pill can be used as well.

To be most effective one should introduce the source of energy quickly and be able to fall asleep within minutes afterwards. Otherwise the energy source will begin to work and will prevent one from falling asleep. Energy pills get absorbed slower than an energy drink and might be a better choice.

Once asleep, the energy source will begin to enter one’s circulatory system and will wake one up in the normal time frame of a cat-nap (20-30 minutes). Once awakened, one should have the energy from the nap and a boost from the energy source as well.

This reminds me a lot of the experiments that Steve Pavlina tried with polyphasic sleep.

After having read about the processes involved, I think that power-napping is a good idea, if you have the opportunity to do it. I think that having longer naps actually causes you to be even more tired when you wake up. The power nap was enough to get me through the day. I wasn’t tired. I still am not tired.

Polyphasic sleeping involves sleeping 20-25 minutes every four hours. I remember reading how Steve Pavlina tried it out. It seems a drastic measure, but for someone who needs as much time as they can in a day, this might be the way to do it. Personally, I’ve toyed with the idea of trying it, but jobs and school might come into play. I think that I’m a proponent for biphasic sleep, which involves a power nap during the afternoon.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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