Sleep is a fundamental physiological activity that plays an important role in our lives. It is when we sleep that our body regenerates. Sleep deprivation adversely affects all stages, including the functioning of our memory – both long-term and short-term memory is impaired with sleep deprivation. We may become more susceptible to infections because our immune system becomes weakened. Therefore, power naps could be a good solution.


What are they and what are their benefits?


What is a power nap?  [1]

A power nap is a term coined by Dr James B. Maas, a well-known sleep researcher and author of the book ‘Power Sleep’. A power nap is a very short nap of no more than 20 minutes, consisting solely of sleep in phase 2. Phase 2 is the ‘lightest’ of the sleep phases.


Health benefits of a power nap [5], [6] 


After staring at a computer for several hours, our productivity diminishes dramatically. Our daily routine also leads to a feeling of fatigue during the day, and we may even dream that it is evening so that we can go to bed. Meanwhile, if we take a short nap at work, we feel as if we are just starting the day. Reducing fatigue and stress also improves mood.


After a nap, our body has renewed energy and is more able to focus on the task at hand. Studies show that a power nap improves performance in both physical and mental activities. Just 20 minutes of napping will enable us to gain a new perspective on things that have been occupying our minds and thus make better decisions.


Power naps will allow us to reduce tension and lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Reducing stress levels may also reduce the risk of a heart attack. What’s more, relaxation allows us to reduce fatigue and the associated headaches and eye aches.


Important for students and adults who feel as though they are ‘slipping’ various important things from their memory.


 It is about better association, learning, drawing conclusions, perceptiveness and the ability to concentrate.


Creativity is now required of the employee in almost every job, so this is another reason why power naps can help with boosting productivity at work!


Studies have shown that regular power naps improve immunity and can restore it when it drops, especially if someone can’t get a good night’s sleep.

Importance of sleep [2], [3], [4]

Sleep is extremely important for our body, especially for the nervous system. Many studies show that people who sleep less than 7 hours a day are characterised by reduced concentration and cognitive functions. People who have a sleep deficit are often at risk of developing depression and other diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diet-related diseases (overweight, obesity, type II diabetes).

Sleep is also important for athletes. Numerous studies have shown that an adequate amount of sleep can increase motor skills, reaction time, muscle strength, muscular endurance and problem-solving skills, as well as reduce the risk of injury and increase motivation to exercise thus improving the performance of athletes.

The quantity and quality of sleep is very important for proper heart function. Insufficient sleep appears to increase the risk of high blood pressure, especially in people with obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition characterised by interrupted breathing during sleep.

Another important aspect is the correlation of sleep and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Low sleep quantity is associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. It is thought that sleep deprivation can cause physiological changes such as decreased insulin sensitivity, increased inflammation and changes in hunger hormones, as well as behavioural changes such as poor decision-making and increased food intake – all of which increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

In addition, lack of sleep is associated with a higher risk of developing obesity, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. These factors also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.


Sleep, basic physiological function of our body,  plays a very important role. Our sleep quantity and quality can have a decisive impact on our quality of life and whether we will be predisposed to illness. A power nap can be beneficial to regenerate our body during the day. But remember, by definition, a power nap should not be longer than 20 minutes!

By Martyna Slotwinska, dietitian intern, revised by Reema Patel, Registered Dietitian at Dietitian Fit & Co.

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