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Sweet Dreams

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Taking a nap in the middle of the day is a dream (not kidding!) for many of us, and quite necessary thanks to our hectic lives and stresses. Trisha Ghoroi tells you why you should take a power nap

As children, we never wanted to sleep in the afternoon given that we were full of energy. But that isn’t the case anymore, and many of us are sleep deprived. Our daily schedules are completely packed and six hours’ of sleep at night is not enough. Balancing health, work, a social life and family is a juggling act, but without proper sleep it can equal a nightmare. Napping during the day, albeit for a short time, is good for both body and mind. You wake up feeling fresh and more energetic, and your brain is able to perform better. But, before you hit the pillow for a nap, read about the different kinds of power naps and their benefits.


  • 20-minute naps If you want to boost your energy and alertness, you should nap for about 20 minutes. During a short nap, you have lighter sleep, which is a non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep. It’s easier to wake up after such a nap and instantly get back to your work. This kind of nap is also helpful if you feel sleepy before driving; a short nap will help you stay alert when on the road.
  • 30-minute naps In a 30-minute nap, you enter a slow-wave sleep phase, during which your body restores tissue and your brain ‘resets’; it gets rid of useless information. This kind of nap gives you a boost of energy and a clear mind, and will help you work with alertness.
  • 60-minute naps Consider yourself lucky if you can make time for an hour-long nap during your work day. During such a nap you can reach stage 4 of sleeping, also called REM sleep, which is the deepest sleep. It helps boost creativity and makes you feel energised. But, it takes time to recover from such a nap — a condition referred to as sleep inertia — and get back to your work.
  • 90-minute naps This type is considered the best as it balances out all the stages of sleeping. This improves emotional memory as well as creativity. But, when you wake up, you’re as fresh as ever, and won’t feel the effects of sleep inertia.  

If you think it’s better to grab a quick cup of coffee (or four) instead of wasting time on a nap, you’re probably a workaholic. While a cup of coffee will give you quick results, a 20-minute nap will make you alert without stimulating your nervous system forcefully. Drinking coffee can decrease your memory performance and a simple task may later feel like a burden.


  • A private cubicle is the best place to catch up on sleep. Take your phone off the hook (if you have one) and switch off your mobile phone and computer screen. If you’re really bold, smuggle in a pillow and pull on an eye mask to block out the light.
  • Go to the storage room and carry along a jacket or scarf for warmth. Find a nice place to sit where you can rest comfortably. Storage rooms are dark and quiet, and hence make the perfect place for a nap.
  • If you drive to work, go to the parking lot and take a quick nap in your car. It is the perfect place as you can nap comfortably and no one is going to wake you up. When you return to your desk just pretend that you came back from an important call.


This is the most crucial part as a proper nap can boost your energy, but a wrongly timed nap can worsen your mood. It’s best to take a nap after lunch, between 2pm and 4pm. A nap after 4pm can disrupt your night-time sleep. You can plan your mid-day nap according to your work schedule and what time you’ll need to get back to work, or simply take a spontaneous nap whenever you feel sleepy. Remember to set an alarm to wake you up.

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