Naps. OK, lets talk a bit about naps. I am working on a chapter on naps for my upcoming book and here is what I have learned. There are several schools of thought on napping. First and foremost, if you have problems sleeping at night then do not nap past about 1pm in the day. You need to remember to continue to create a sleep pressure (which is your circadian rhythm and your circadian oscillator) so that when you do lay your head down you will have a good likelihood of falling asleep. However if you are getting 4 hours a night and you are so tired that you are falling asleep at work then you may need to take a 20 minute power nap to just get in enough sleep to make it through the day.
Recent research by Sarah Mednick shows that the true value of naps comes with longer naps – 90-180 minutes. As a society we are all sleep-deprived. There have been numerous studies showing that if allowed even the person who claims to have the best sleep can actually (when out of the sight of time cues) sleep about 1-2 hours longer, but lets get real no one can sleep 10-12 hours a day. We are all just too busy. But we have to respect our sleep and know that there will be times where we need to get more rest and this can be accomplished with napping. Mednick is on the board of a company called MetroNaps. This company furnishes pods where people can come and take a quick nap during work.
So to re-confirm there are a few types of naps out there. There is the 20 min power nap. This one is not too long that you would get into the deep refreshing sleep, but just long enough to get some needed zzzzs. There is the 90-180 min Restorative nap, this is a weekend situation whenever possible. I recommend that people experiment with these types of naps to see when and where they can apply them for a more alert day.