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Power Napping - Instructions and Significance of Short Sleep

Power Napping - Instructions and Significance of Short Sleep

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Short sleep for more energy

Power napping, a "big" term for a small thing - a short sleep, properly executed, which provides new energy. All those who have a retreat should treat themselves to such a break, if necessary, in order to be fit for the rest of the day. The next lines will tell you what power napping means, how it works and how this form of sleep is performed.

Fresh back to work

A hectic morning, a lot of stress - now many people long for a short break. Who doesn't know the leaden tiredness in or after lunch. Properly performed power napping would make sense right now, as this has an enormously relaxing effect and brings the performance back again. But taking a nap during the lunch break is still a no-go. Continuing to work is a great effort, the inner bastard must be overcome.

Professor Dr. Göran Hajak, the medical director of the sleep medicine center at Regensburg University Hospital, has found that daytime sleep phases greatly improve performance. The tiredness in the early afternoon is related to the biorhythm. Therefore, according to Professor Dr. Göran Hajak, the need to be indulged. A short "nap" brings freshness, concentration and performance back. This has been proven in many studies. However, it should be ensured that power napping does not take longer than 20 minutes. Otherwise the internal clock gets out of step.

Special rooms for time out

In countries such as the USA, Canada and England, employers are fairly open about this issue. For example, there are special “silent rooms” or “relax rooms” in which employees can make themselves comfortable on loungers or special armchairs. This is supported by soft music and soothing light and color impulses. The city administration in Vechta, Lower Saxony, is an extremely positive role model in Germany. Since 2000, employees have been able to fulfill their wish to have a little sleep at lunchtime.

A little break at noon - sleep or rest

Sleep researchers have found that power napping doesn't necessarily mean sleeping. The short nod, the switch off, is in the foreground here. Lying down is also not absolutely necessary. A relaxed posture, even when sitting, is sufficient. Dr. Martin Braun from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization in Stuttgart notes that the best time for a power nap is between 12 and 2 p.m. However, this time is usually filled with other things in our hectic life. Perhaps a rethink would be necessary here.

Braun also says that - as we all know - naps, especially in our regions, are still frowned upon. In Mediterranean countries, on the other hand, where the daily routine is very different, many people like to take a break during their lunch break. An investigation was carried out in the magistrate of Hillerod, a Danish city near Copenhagen. The officials found the following: The officials who work there and take a short nap at noon work better in the afternoon than those who do not take this time out. Since then, this rest period has even been set out in writing in the employment contract.


It is important to recharge your batteries at lunchtime. The best way to do this is with power napping. But this does not always work straight away. Switching off has to be learned. However, everyone can learn this. If you can't switch off at all, relaxation exercises such as yoga, autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation help you. The latter is pretty easy to learn. The principle of this relaxation technique is based on the fact that conscious, strong tensing of the muscles results in increased blood circulation.

In order to correctly carry out power napping, the time is important. As already mentioned, this is best between 12 noon and 2 p.m. After 3 p.m., short sleep is no longer recommended, as this may disturb the night's sleep. You do not have to do without the habitual coffee after lunch. The caffeine only takes effect after 20 minutes and therefore does not interfere with the recovery process. So that you can really relax, find a quiet place and a comfortable place to sit or lie down. At home this is of course quite easy, there you lie down on the couch or lounge in your favorite armchair. However, lying down is not a mandatory requirement. A comfortable seat, a chair or the car seat are sufficient.

Darkness makes it easier to “dive down”. If this is not possible, use sleep goggles. Furthermore, rest is important. You can use earplugs to shield yourself from the surrounding noise. Quiet music, possibly via headphones, supports rest. The best room temperature for a healthy sleep is between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. The relaxation procedures mentioned above make it easier to fall asleep. So that you do not get into the deep sleep phase, you need an alarm clock that wakes you up after 20 minutes at the latest. However, people who regularly do power napping often wake up on their own over time. You should stimulate your circulation after the rest phase. Possibly climbing stairs, with a few stretching exercises and a glass of water or herbal tea. Light means "time to wake up". Soak up some sunlight to be fully awake again.

Effect on memory

Power napping not only has a positive effect on fitness and performance, but also on memory. Harvard University conducted an interesting experiment in this regard, in which subjects had to memorize a list of words. Half of the subjects then had to do power napping, the others stayed awake. The tests were repeated four hours later. The researchers were very surprised by the result, because the memory was significantly increased by the nap. Other studies show that athletic performance or, for example, learning an instrument, also benefit from short sleep. The ability to concentrate can also be increased.

What the nap can do

Such a nap not only restores mental or physical fitness, but also puts you in a good mood. The happiness hormone serotonin is responsible for this. Creativity is also encouraged. The heart beats slower during power napping, the respiratory rate drops, blood pressure and body temperature drop. At the same time, energy consumption is reduced. The oxygen supply to the entire body is also improved.


An afternoon nap is usually associated with young children. They need sleep to be fit afterwards. But adults also need it. A short sleep, or a short rest period, known today under the term power napping, helps to relax, regenerate and then recover and perform again. The difference to the children's midday sleep lies primarily in the duration. Such a nap shouldn't be longer than 20 minutes in adults. Otherwise, people feel like they are wheeled and take quite a long time to get going again. The success here is without exception in a nutshell.

After power napping, most people feel really comfortable and can do the rest of the day's work with full strength. Studies show that people who take this little break at lunchtime perform 27 percent better than those who don't sleep. Power napping is an elixir of life. During a working day or at home, when a mother looks after the children all day - you deserve a little break at noon. Similarly, grandparents who take care of their grandchildren regain strength through power napping. And not only the people mentioned benefit from a short lunch break. For example, schoolchildren who come home from school tired and exhausted should also incorporate power napping into their daily routine. This will help them learn and sometimes improve their performance. (sw)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Jürgen Zulley: "Sleep science. Interesting facts about our sleep", Mabuse-Verlag, 2018
  • Hiuyan Lau, Matthew Tucker, William Fishbein: “Daytime napping: Effects on human direct associative and relational memory", Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Volume 93, Issue 4, May 2010, p.554-560, sciencedirect.com

Video: 15 minute guided power nap. peaceful sleep meditation for relaxation, stress and anxiety (October 2022).