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"Power naps are typically considered a 20- or 30-minute nap. If you're having trouble powering through the second half of the day or if you feel sleepy sometimes, taking these naps can really help you maintain alertness and can be either in addition to, or instead of using coffee or other forms of caffeine," said Deirdre Ann Conroy, a behavioral sleep specialist at the University of Michigan.
Conroy warns that power naps aren't a great idea for everyone, in particular people who have difficulty sleeping at night or insomnia. "Taking naps during the day can really interfere with the quality of sleep that you get at night. And so we typically recommend people who have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep to avoid napping during the day," Conroy said.
How to take a power nap
If you don't have sleep issues or insomnia and want to try power napping, follow the tips below from Conroy on how to take a power nap when you feel sleepy or want a quick energy boost.
Set an alarm for 20 to 30 minutes max
It may not seem like much, but 20-minute naps are the sweet spot when it comes to helping you feel more awake and not groggy. Conroy advises setting an alarm to ensure you don't snooze for too long. "If we think about our sleep cycle, we tend to transition into very deep stages of sleep after about 20 to 30 minutes. And so you actually don't want to have a long sleep period in the middle of the day. You can feel better after about 20 to 30 minutes of lighter stages of sleep," Conroy said.
In terms of an ideal time frame, Conroy said that can vary because "internal clocks are all different. I've heard people say not [to nap] after 5 p.m., but my 5 p.m. might be different than your 5 p.m. So I just like to keep it general, like early in the day or evening time, whatever that is for you."