There’s a Nap for That

Consider a nap before reaching for that extra cup of coffee. Got a big presentation coming up? Need to increase your alertness? There is a nap that can help.

Personally, I’m a fan of the NASA nap. It’s short and highly effective. All you need are 26 minutes. NASA scientists found that this short nap can increase alertness by 54 percent.

Matching the right type of nap to your desired result is important. Napping for the wrong amount of time can cause a sleep hangover, negating any of the nap’s amazing benefits. The 30 minute nap should be avoided at all costs.

If you have a bit more time, the 60-minute slow-wave nap can be a great way to increase your ability to remember places, faces and facts. This can be especially helpful before a big presentation.

And for those with all the time in the world the full sleep cycle nap is one of life’s true luxuries. These glorious 90 minutes will help creativity, emotional and procedural memory. These can be great before an impending project or a big test. Be sure to set your alarm, though. Going longer than 90 minutes can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

While our instinct is usually to push through deadlines by taking multiple trips to the coffee machine, sometimes it makes sense to take a short break to look at the task at hand and consider whether or not a nap can make us more productive, better employees.