How to Power Nap Like a Pro: Duration, Benefits, & Techniques


Are you getting enough sleep? Taking power naps can energize and rejuvenate you during a long day. But how do you stop yourself at 20 or 30 minutes and not sleep the whole day away? Learn the best methods for keeping your naps short and beneficial.

Have you ever been so exhausted that you decided to take a rejuvenating little nap, only to wake up several hours later, not knowing what year it is? This kind of napping has the exact opposite effect you wanted. You may be thinking to yourself, “I’m just not a napper; I am doomed to be groggy every day for the rest of my life.

Everyone knows taking a short nap can promote alertness, but do you know the optimal amount of time to nap? (Hint: it’s not several hours). Did you also know that there is another powerful relaxation technique, that provides similar benefits to a power nap, but without the need for actual sleep? Read further to know more about Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR).

What is Power Napping

A power nap is a short period of sleep that helps you feel more alert and energetic. It is meant to supplement your normal sleep. Just as preschoolers and kids lay down in the middle of the afternoon to give their minds and bodies a chance to recharge. Similarly, adults can benefit from these short naps too.

Power Nap is defined in the Dictionary as:

“A brief sleep during the day, taken for the desired effect of improving one’s alertness and ability to work efficiently throughout the remainder of the day.” (

Benefits of Napping

Power Naps provide several benefits for healthy adults including:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased alertness and attention
  • Improved mood
  • Improved performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory
How To Power Nap: Benefits Of Napping

A study conducted on the benefits of a power nap for healthy adults, who do not suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, found that napping led to improvements in subjective sleepiness, fatigue, and accuracy on a serial addition/subtraction task (Milner & Cote, 2008).


The study found that while subjects with severe sleep deprivation experienced sleep inertia from short naps, healthy adults with regular sleep patterns benefitted from immediate improvements.

Sleep Inertia Definition: “A temporary disorientation and decline in performance and/or mood after awakening from sleep” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Challenges of Napping

However, taking a longer nap can lead to fatigue and irritability. Not only that but if you are working a regular nine-to-five job, or are a full-time student it’s not realistic to take a long nap during your most productive hours.

Also, you don’t want your nap to negatively impact your nighttime sleep, which can happen if your nap occurs late in the day. Nap length matters, not just for your health benefits, but for your productivity.

Power Nap Time Length

Now that we understand how a power nap can help, let’s look at the perfect power nap duration or time that can provide you the optimal benefits.

How Long Should a Power Nap be

The ideal power nap duration is typically between 20 to 30 minutes. This length helps prevent sleep inertia, ensuring you wake up refreshed rather than groggy.

How To Power Nap Like A Pro: Duration, Time

American neuroscientist, Andrew Huberman says to “limit daytime naps to less than 90 min, or don’t nap at all”.


An ideal power nap is about 30 minutes daily, according to Huberman. A 90-minute nap in the middle of a workday is unrealistic. When you nap for longer than 90 minutes, you can slip into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which messes up your sleep cycle.

REM Sleep Definition: “The phase of sleep in which most dreams occur. During REM sleep, a person’s brain activity, breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure increase, and the eyes move rapidly while closed.”

An article for the Harvard Health Letter says that a “20- to 30-minute nap may be the ideal pick-me-up” and further claims that a power nap is more beneficial than caffeine for making you more alert in the afternoon (Mers & Slon, 2009).

It not only works better than caffeine but is also healthier for you. It might be time to talk to your employer about how a power nap could make your team more productive at work!

How to Take a Power Nap Without Oversleeping

Here are some tips on how to nap effectively without oversleeping:

  1. Silence all notifications: Respond to any urgent matters before you nap, so you can switch your calls or notifications to silent mode. You can’t nap properly if you’re constantly being interrupted.
  2. Get comfortable: If appropriate, take off your shoes. Get your pillow out, or lay down on the floor, if that works for you. Some people swear by lying flat on the floor with their legs raised on a chair or couch. Figure out the most comfortable position possible according to your sorrounding. Use your eye mask or earplugs if needed.
  3. Set a timer to ensure you don’t oversleep: You know how much time you have. Setting a timer gives you peace of mind so you can relax, and take a proper nap without oversleeping.
  4. Relax using meditation or white noise: Ease into a relaxed state by meditating or listening to white noise. Most smartphones offer free white noise apps. Find what soothes you best and indulge in that peaceful moment.

How to Power Nap at Work

If your lunch break is long enough, it could be the perfect opportunity for a power nap. A 10-20 minutes of napping post-lunch can significantly enhance productivity, patience, alertness, cognitive performance, and reaction times. Additional benefits include improved mood and reduced stress at work.

You may have limited control over your work environment, and even though power naps have been proven to increase productivity at work, not every employer is going to consider the benefits of napping for their team or be inclined towards installing facilities like napping pods.

Napping Pods: For Comfortable Naps at Work

Napping Pods are specially designed furniture pieces that can significantly enhance the quality of your naps at work, providing a quiet and comfortable space for a quick rest. Metronaps creates special napping pods called “EnergyPod”. These nap pods are used by Google and various hospitals and airports worldwide.

Napping Pods: For Comfortable Naps At Work
Sideview of EnergyPod by Metronaps

Napping at Work Without Napping Pods

Even in a workplace without ideal conditions for napping or facilities like napping pods, there are ways to enhance your napping experience. For instance, maybe you can’t dim the lights, but you can use an eye mask. If a lying-down nap isn’t possible, try using a pillow to support a comfortable seated position at your desk.

While it might be challenging to control noise levels, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones with calming sounds can help create a peaceful environment.

Beginning your nap with a short meditation session can aid in relaxation and mental clearance. Additionally, for those who find daytime napping difficult, there’s an alternative approach (Non-Sleep Deep Rest) that can be just as effective as a traditional power nap.

Benefits of Taking a Non-Sleep Deep Rest

According to neuroscientist, Andrew Huberman, NSDR (non-sleep deep rest) can be just as beneficial as taking a short nap.

Non-sleep deep rest is achieved by “slowing down brain wave frequencies, mirroring the patterns observed during slow-wave sleep” (Recovery Guru, 2024).

What is slow-wave sleep? It is one of the stages of sleep outside of REM sleep, and “during this stage, a substantial release of growth hormone occurs, promoting tissue growth, repair, and enhanced cognitive capacity” (Recovery Guru, 2024). It is a deep sleep but doesn’t mess up your circadian cycle, so it is safe to enter during the day. To enter into this state, you essentially hypnotize yourself.

It is easiest if you use guided meditation videos, which can be found on YouTube. In these videos, the instructor will “guide you through different body parts, asking you to bring your awareness to each area and consciously relax it.”


Some of the benefits of NSDR are “memory retention, stress reduction, cognitive enhancement, improved sleep quality, and pain management” (Recovery Guru, 2024). NSDR can also help you fall asleep at night if that is a struggle for you. If a nap during the day isn’t possible for you, NSDR may be a good option.

Conclusion: Happy Napping!

Remember, practice makes perfect. Experiment with different napping durations and techniques to find what works best for you. The key is to keep naps short and to use them as a tool to increase productivity and overall well-being.

While power naps are beneficial, they are not a substitute for regular, quality nighttime sleep. The best thing you can do is to go to sleep at night and wake up around the same time every day, going through the full sleep cycle.

Our bodies love routine, and creating a healthy sleep foundation will do wonders for us. Now go take a nap!

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Amanda Pickard

I grew up without television, so I have always loved reading and writing for my entertainment. I am completing my BA in Communications through BYU Pathway and look forward to making a career with words, through writing and editing. My family has been my greatest strength through my educational journey.
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