Are Power Naps Good or Bad? How to Power Nap the Right Way

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  • Is it good to take power naps?
  • Will you be able to sleep at night?
  • Do they make you more focused and productive? 

The answer to all the above questions is YES!

But you have to power nap the right way. 

This article will teach you how to Power Nap the Right Way to boost your focus and mood, reduce stress, improve memory, and help you become more productive!

napping cat

What is a Power Nap?

“A power nap is a short sleep that terminates before deep sleep” 

The difference between a nap and a power nap is basically the duration, where a power nap usually refers to a nap of 20 minutes or less

To remove any confusion, we use these terms interchangeably in this article. 

The Power of Power Naps

In her book Take a Nap! Change Your Life, napping researcher Sara Mednick, states some amazing benefits of taking power naps:

  • boosts creativity
  • reduces stress
  • improves perception
  • enhances your sex life 
  • helps you make better decisions
  • keeps you looking younger
  • aids in weight loss
  • reduces the risk of heart attack
  • elevates your mood
  • and strengthens memory

power nap girl

Despite all of these benefits, you might still hold at least one of these objections in mind:

  1. Power naps are a sign of laziness 
  2. I don’t need power naps
  3. Power naps will make me more tired and worsen my ability to fall asleep at night 

So, let’s bust these into dust.

1. “Power naps are a sign of laziness”

Power naps are not a sign of laziness, quite the contrary. 

If you take a 20-minute power nap after a work or study session you will come back with more willpower and more alertness which will in fact increase your productivity. 

You will get more done, and produce more quality work than if you haven’t been taking a power nap. See it as a way of recharging your batteries. 

When you feel tired and out of energy, why push through another 60 minutes of low energy output on, let’s say, half your performance level, when you can have 40 minutes of high energy output at your best? 

If you do the quick math, 60 minutes on half the output is actually lazier than 40 minutes of normal output. The first will only count as 30 minutes (if not less), the latter as 40 minutes (if not more).

The objection that power naps are a sign of laziness has more to do with your perception than reality. 

If you make the most out of them, power naps are contrary to laziness. They are a sign of productiveness!

2. “I don’t need power naps”

If you never feel the need to recharge, remove brain fog, or increase your focus then you might be fine without power naps. 

But if you’re like me, and want a powerful tool to combat fatigue, boost your productivity, and also enjoy all the benefits listed above, I would encourage you to give power naps a try!

Of course, we’re all different, and work or study under different circumstances. If you’ve never power naps before I understand that it might feel a bit odd to do. 

However, you’ll never know if power naps can benefit you if you never try them out!

3. “Power naps will make me more tired and worsen my ability to fall asleep at night”

You might be afraid of taking power naps if you already have a hard time falling asleep at night. 

However, research states that power naps can ease our so-called sleep deficits

Research says that a third of us aren’t getting enough sleep, so power naps can be a powerful tool to combat the lack of sleep many of us have to suffer. 

And taking all the benefits listed above into account, power naps are seemingly always a good option!


Alright, all objections busted, let’s take a nap…

Hold on! Before you close your eyes, listen up!

As with most things, there is a right and a wrong way of napping. 

The wrong way can in fact be quite harmful and disrupt your sleep cycle (sleep inertia), leading to grogginess and a long recovery time. 

Before napping you have to know what to avoid and how to power nap the right way!

Okay, let’s get into that!

How to Power Nap the Right Way

The 5 Stages of Sleep

To understand the “art of power napping”, let’s first look at the 5 stages of the sleep cycle

  • Drowsy – you sink into sleep. Your jaw-muscle movement, breathing, and brain activity slow down.
  • Light sleep – your body gets ready for slow-wave sleep. Your muscles are relaxing and your body temperature is lowering. This sleep is light but restful. 
  • Moderate sleep – your brain starts to produce slow delta waves and prepares for deep sleep. 
  • Deep sleep – your brain produces a lot of delta waves. There is almost no eye movement or muscle activity in your body.
  • REM sleep – rapid eye movement sleep. You have arrived at the dream stage.

This cycle repeats every 90 to 120 minutes

So for how long are you supposed to power nap then? 

Nap Duration

Back to our napping-expert Sara Mednick

She states that naps at different durations result in different benefits.

The 10 to 20-minute nap provides a quick boost of alertness and energy while keeping sleep inertia to a minimum. This corresponds to the first two stages of the sleep cycle, Drowsy and Light sleep, as seen above.

She advises against 30-minutes naps, saying that recovery often takes too long. That is when the brain starts to produce delta waves and prepares for deep sleep. 

Waking up after a 30-minute nap will increase the chance of sleep inertia and feeling groggy for a time after. It’s then better to let the brain do its work and get into deep sleep. 

You can read more about sleep inertia and how to stop snoozing in our article “4 Steps to Beat the Snooze Button”.

After a 60 minute nap, you will likely go into deep sleep and, according to Mednick, improve your cognitive memory processing. The slow delta waves produced at this stage help us remember facts, places, faces, and so on. 

She also mentions the epic 90-minute naps, which can aid in creativity and emotional memory, while still keeping sleep inertia to a minimum.

power nap the right way

So, depending on what you’re after (and how much time you have at hand), power naps can offer a variety of benefits.

Just make sure to not take them too close to bedtime as that can of course disrupt your regular nighttime sleep.

Create a Power Nap Habit 

So to return to the first questions in this article: 

  • Is it good to take power naps?
  • Will you be able to sleep at night?
  • Do they make you more focused and productive? 

You now know the answer!

The next step for you is to make a habit of power napping to enjoy all the benefits every day.

Our favorite tool here at Habithon for developing any new habit is by using the Vanaboard


Developed by our friends Felix and Joost, the Vanaboard is a sleek offline habit-tracker structured for 66 days which builds upon the science that it on average takes 66 days to form a new habit.

And if you want it cheaper than the original price, we got you covered!

There will be a discount waiting for you right here!


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When you feel like crap, take a nap…

Next time you’re in the need of an energy boost, have to remember something important, want a burst of creativity, or just want to feel better – take a power nap! 

Just avoid 30-minute naps and napping too close to bedtime!


Happy napping!

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Hey fellow habit-lovers! My name is André, former procrastinator and day-dreamer turned habit and personal development enthusiast. Here at Habithon, we believe that good habits make up a good life. My favorite habits are journaling, cold showers, and power-naps! My wish is for you to get inspired and start your own journey towards better habits and a better lifestyle.

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