Did you know that a 20-minute nap at work gives you 3 extra hours of productivity every day?

Yup! Sleep experts seem to attest to the extra energy given by a power nap of 20 minutes per day. Considering that our energy levels when tracked actually look like a pair of zigzags. Productivity experts charted their energy levels for 21 days and discovered spikes between 7 am – 8 am, 11 am to 12 pm, and 6 pm to 7 pm.

At some point, your energy peters out. With most of the studies on energy levels during the day, the period between 1 pm to 3 pm seems to be the Waterloo of most workers, especially when it comes after lunch and everyone is reaching out for cappuccinos to keep awake and perky.

More productivity with cat naps

While the boss may not appreciate you’re catnapping in the office, all studies indicate that a well-timed sleep during the day, especially near mid-day, gives an added boost to your effectiveness and productivity as a worker.

“A brief mid-day nap can reduce levels of fatigue, improve reaction time, promote learning, and improve coordination,” says Michael A. Grandner of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Now for the right way to arrange your power naps. Ideally, the best time for the power naps is around the middle of the day or 8 hours after you wake up.  A 20-30 minute power nap is best for brain functions and not waking up like you’ve been hit by a truck.

A 2012 Northwestern University study also showed that participants could play a recently-learned song on a keyboard more accurately if it was played during their afternoon power nap. Which means that when we’re sleeping, our brain is still working and can distinguish things while the body is physically sleeping.

And how about a steaming cup of coffee to replace a nap? Experts of a University of California in San Diego study said that people did far worse in memory exercises when fed caffeine than those who slept in the middle of the day.

You’re battling your biology when you don’t take a nap

When we fill ourselves with caffeine and sugar to fight a natural downturn in energy, it makes it even worse. All we feel is more fatigue, particularly when it happens in the later part of the day.  Our bodies operate on a natural, built-in clock called the circadian rhythm. This sleep/wake cycle is supposed to give us a natural flow of energy over a 24 hour period.

Unfortunately, going against the circadian rhythm gives us problems. When you work the graveyard shift, this rhythm is unnaturally disrupted, hence, the sleepiness during the day or in times when you want to be awake.

To counter this, a 20-minute nap would help you recover the lost sleep – and even add 3 hours of productive work to your workday.

What do you think of our theory? So far, it works for me and a host of others I know who take power naps as well.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!