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The Science Behind Power Nap Lengths

A guide to power naps that will teach you when to take shorter or longer naps, depending on your needs.

Posted on January 15 2020

The science behind power naps proves that taking a short sleep has tremendous advantages, not only for the sleepless, but even people who have had a good night’s sleep. The benefits of power napping include a boost in energy, emotion regulation, perceptual memory, memory consolidation, associative memory, and creative thinking. Even though naps are good for you, many people have trouble getting the most out of their midday naps, spending only 60% of their naptime actually sleeping. If you need to recharge but can’t get to sleep, consider learning how to take the perfect power nap with Pzizz.

Pzizz is a revolutionary power nap app for iPhone and Android that combines cutting-edge research into sleep, neuro-science, psychophysiology, and psychoacoustics to help you fall asleep fast and wake from your power nap feeling energized and productive.

Pzizz: Sleep at the Push of a Button

  • Get to sleep fast and wake from your nap refreshed with handcrafted musical “dreamscapes” tailored to different stages of your sleep cycle
  • Quickly relax into sleep with voice narrations based on real clinical sleep interventions
  • Proven the best sleep aid in a peer-reviewed clinical trial
  • Never tire of Pzizz, with new content added each month

Download for a FREE 7-DAY TRIAL and replace caffeine with the best nap of your life.

“Give @pzizz a try! Love that app and helps me fall asleep or nap on command.”
-Daniel Weinand, Shopify Co-Founder

The Power of Naps

A quick power nap does more than make you feel well rested. In fact, naps during the day confer all sorts of surprising cognitive, emotional, and productive benefits.

Cognitive Performance

  • Power naps boost “perceptual learning” dependent on sensory stimuli, like recognizing faces. A 60 to 90-minute power nap confers the same benefits as a full night’s sleep.
  • In fact, a power nap has the same benefits for “memory consolidation” as a full night’s sleep, as memories are moved from the hippocampus to different areas in the cortex for long-term storage during sleep.
  • Power naps also enhance “associative memory,” such as learning the meaning of words in a foreign language, when taken after a study session.

Emotional Regulation

  • Emotional regulation, especially tolerance for frustration and impulse control, has been shown to improve after a 60-minute daytime nap.
  • Sleep deprivation can produce a 20% decrease in brain serotonin, leading to irritability. Leading sleep researchers have said of naps, “other than exercising, there is no better way to immediately offset a negative mood.”

Productivity and Creativity

  • Studies on employee fatigue recommend allowing afternoon naps in the workplace, having shown that sleeping for 15 to 20-minutes benefits mood, morale, and energy for 6 hours, even if the napping employee does not report feeling more rested.
  • Power naps correlate positively with creativity, defined as the formation of associative networks and the integration of unassociated information. Some studies show that REM sleep, in particular, is responsible for the original thinking that we understand as “creative.”

“@pzizz I had the most magical 25 minute nap of all time.”-Rexie

The Effects of Naps of Various Lengths

There is no definitive set of rules for how to incorporate naps into your routine, but there are guidelines that you can follow depending on how long you slept the night before, the goal of power napping, and how quickly you have to recover after your nap before continuing with your day.

  • If you are sleep deprived and want to re-energize yourself, 10-minute power naps help to improve alertness, fatigue, and vigor.
  • A longer, 60 to 90-minute nap will produce the same results as a 10-minute nap, but only an hour after waking;in the interim, you will perform worse than having not had a nap at all. It is important to avoid naps like these when you are pressed for time.
  • If you have had a full night’s sleep, a 60 to 90-minute nap offers the best benefit to memory, mood, and cognitive function.
  • If you have had a full night’s sleep and are looking to perform well at creative problem-solving, a 90-minute nap is necessary to bring you into and out of REM sleep, which studies show is an important part of creating new associations and original thinking.

Pzizz is a great tool for getting to sleep quickly and napping for the right amount of time to get the most out of your power nap. Featured in workplace nap pods across the world, our clinically-proven sleep music helps you fall asleep quickly, while Pzizz’s sleep timer settings help keep naps from turning into accidental bedtimes.

“I've used it ever since having kids and needing a power nap to get through the day (that was 16 yrs ago!!)”
-Playstore Reviewer

Download for a FREE 7-DAY TRIAL and let the healing power of music turn you into a professional power napper.