Power Naps

With finals week, right around the corner many students will be getting lesleepdeprivationss and less sleep in order to study.  President elect Donald Trump claims he only gets 4 hours a sleep a night.  If this is actually true how is he able to be productive throughout the whole day.  I have heard different thoughts about the idea length of a nap in order to maximize time.  I wanted to research what the ideal length for a power nap is.  My hypothesis is that a power nap should be about 20-30 minutes.

There are 4 stages of sleep Each sleep is deeper and deeper with less brain activity.  Power naps keep you in the lightest stage of the 4; by doing this it keeps you from falling into a deep sleep.  When you fall into a deeper sleep and don’t go through the whole sleep cycle it can causes that you to feel more tired when you wake up .  This usually occurs in naps that last around one hour long.  Most of the time sleeping an hour long can do more harm than good because you can actually wake up more tired.

There is one story that says Steve Fossett only slept for 60 minutes over a 67 hour flight.  During this time Forssett broke the record for longest flight around the world.  He slept in twice each time only 30 minutes long.  Forssett said after the naps he woke up energized and focused.  This case is just an anecdote of one person’s experience.   The national sleep foundation also recommended to nap around 20-30 minutes for the best effect; however, I could not find many traditional studies about this.  I found a lot of conflicting information that said a 45-60 minute nap can improve your memory.  As Andrew said in class one day the science behind sleeping and why we sleep in very confusing and not that well understood.  I believe this could be a reason for why I kept finding conflicting information.  From what I found there was not enough evidence to accept or reject the hypothesis.

13 thoughts on “Power Naps

  1. Brian Cunningham

    Andrew brought up the idea of sleep as a whole, which made me think about things I hadn’t thought about before as to WHY we sleep. In my psych class, we went over stages of sleep, and things like REM vs non-REM sleep, and it’s very interesting to observe the effects of a short nap. Without fully understanding WHY we sleep, can we really say what the most effective way to manage it through napping is, as opposed to a full 7 or 8 hours over night?

  2. Francis Patrick Cotter

    Many professional athletes have mandatory nap schedules to improve athletic performance. This article, written by a Penn State alum, details how some athletes have multiple naps built into their extremely busy and physically demanding schedules. One interesting tidbit from the article is that the players were instructed to take exactly a 20 min nap or a 90 min nap. This is to line up with the complex sleeping rhythms that can either leave a person waking up refreshed or sluggish. Just thought this would be a nice addition to your post.

  3. Christopher Joseph Kiefer

    Based on my experience with naps, I have always found naps that are less than 40 min to be the most refreshing. Anything more than that makes me feel groggy and tired when I wake up. Power naps help my productivity tremendously.

  4. Matthew Hogan

    I completely agree with this post. depending on what’s going on that day I take a nap in between two of my classes. I find that I feel my best if the nap is 30 minutes. It is tough sometimes to only nap for that long, but it is important not to sleep for longer than that or you will go into a deeper sleep. There are five stages of sleep, they are stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, stage 4, and REM sleep. Sleeping for 30 minutes, you are still in a light sleep, but if you sleep for a little bit longer then that, you will enter stage 3 which is a deep sleep. If you wake up during this stage then you will feel more tired than before.


  5. Marvin Barnhill

    From childhood I’ve always been told 8-10 hours gets you the best night’s sleep possible. However, this amount of sleep is not always attainable. I usually find a way to compensate for my lack of sleep with a power nap. It’s incredible how an hour of nap time can compensate for multiple hours of missed sleep and completely re-energize you, but what is the optimal time for napping? Sleep.org suggests that a 90 minute nap will give you the perfect amount of sleep to get you along through the rest of your day, read more here:


  6. William Dever

    This topic hits close to home because I always enjoy a good power nap. With all the news about sleeping at least 8 hours a day it seems amazing to me that a lot of highly successful people sleep well under this amount, and are still very effective during the day. I decided to look up why this would be, and found a post by Forbes saying it is better for the brain to sleep a shorter number of hours uninterrupted, than it is for you to sleep many hours disrupted. This can certainly explain why many of the world’s greatest business magnates are in the 5-6 hour sleep range. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/11/13/the-sleep-habits-of-highly-successful-people-infographic/#301a6cc0386f

  7. mzm6020

    Great post! You talked about the man who took power naps in the flight, which was really cool! That anecdotal evidence reminds me of my friend that basically lives in the library and takes quick power naps. To me, this never works because I’m the type of person that needs to go through all stages of the sleep cycle in order to feel energized. Every time I attempt to sleep for more than 20 minutes, I end up completely passing out and not waking up again for a few hours. It would be great to be able to take quick naps for quick regeneration. I feel that if scientists somehow made it possible for us to do that, that would make society way more efficient. http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-science-behind-power-naps-and-why-theyre-so-damne-1401366016

  8. William Joseph Robbins-cole

    As an avid napper I love seeing blogs about naps. I have done a lot of research on the topic particularly on the length of of naps and how the length effects us. I have found that naps of 20 minutes and an hour and half are the best for our health.

  9. Savannah Stalnaker

    I can say for sure that in high school, when I got five hours of sleep every night, naps were a life saver. Though if anyone is struggling to sleep, there’s this vitamin drink that has helped me to get any sleep at all. Neuro Sleep has vitamins such as B12 and magnesium to regulate the chemicals in your brain and make you sleepy, so I really suggest looking for it if you find you can’t sleep well.

  10. Sean Patrick Hickey

    I try to take power naps when I can but most of the time I end up sleeping for 2-3 hours instead of 20-30 minutes and then I wake up groggy and tired. But when I actually do succeed in taking a short nap I wake up refreshed and awake. Its kinda counter intuitive how less sleep will leave you more awake than more sleep to a point but thats how our body works. I remember when Andrew talked about how no one knows why we need sleep and this kind of thing makes me see why it is hard to figure it out. this website attempts to explain some of the theories behind why wee need sleep if your interested https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/why-do-we-need-sleep

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