We’re told to have power naps to keep us safe on the road and improve our alertness if we’ve had insufficient sleep. They even help our surgeons stay awake during long shifts. But siestas and nana naps can also leave us feeling groggy and lethargic. So are they healthy or harmful?

First, let’s look at the benefits.

Many people experience overwhelming sleepiness during the mid-afternoon while reading or working on the computer. Taking the time for a brief nap will almost immediately relieve this feeling and improve alertness for a few hours after waking.

A brief nap can not only reduce sleepiness but also improve cognitive functioning and psychomotor performance (the brain telling the body to move). A few minutes of shut-eye also considerably enhances short-term memory and mood.

These benefits are similar to those experienced after consuming caffeine (or other stimulant medications), but without the side effects of possibly disrupted night time sleep or developing caffeine dependence.


The length of the nap is very important in determining its subsequent effect on alertness and cognitive functioning. Although naps of all durations (from five minutes to two hours) have been shown to have some benefits to alertness, the way in which these benefits emerge after waking up varies according to length of nap.

The benefits of a brief nap (up to 20 minutes) emerge almost immediately following the nap and can last up to three hours.

The alerting benefits of long naps (one to two hours) however, are delayed after waking but typically last longer. The improvements in alertness and performance following a long nap can still be experienced up to 24 hours after waking.

But after waking from a long nap, individuals typically feel sleepy and groggy for a short while before feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. This feeling is called sleep inertia and reflects a transition from a sleep state to an awake state and can last up to 30 minutes.

The magnitude of sleep inertia depends on several factors, the most important being the amount of deep sleep (also known as slow-wave sleep) within the napping episode. Since slow-wave sleep develops gradually (over time spent asleep), awakening from a longer nap usually produces longer and more intense periods of sleep inertia.

Brief naps are associated with shorter periods of sleep inertia, and for very brief naps (five to ten minutes), no sleep inertia at all.

It’s also worth mentioning that long naps contain more deep (or slow wave sleep) than shorter naps. So when long naps are taken in the afternoon, it can be more difficult to sleep that night.


The rejuvenating effects of a brief nap are also influenced by when the nap is taken and how long an individual has been awake prior to the nap.

Brief naps taken in the early afternoon, at about 2pm, have a greater recuperative value than when taken at any other time of the day.

Research has also established the longer an individual has been awake, the longer a nap needs to be to improve alertness. Brief naps taken after long periods of wakefulness (18 hours or more) are less effective and have shorter-lasting benefits than naps taken after shorter periods of wakefulness.

So it’s unlikely that a single brief nap could replenish alertness after a night of total sleep loss.


The benefits of naps are well established and can be used in a variety of situations to regain alertness and minimise feelings of sleepiness.

Brief “power” naps are ideal in the work place as they can be taken during an employee’s break time. The almost immediate improvements to alertness, with minimal sleep inertia, allow maximum productivity to resume almost immediately after waking from the nap.

Napping can also help overcome jet lag following travel across time zones. A brief daytime nap can be used to alleviate sleepiness when trying to save your long sleep for the night at your destination.

Research has also suggested impressive potential for brief naps to reduce excessive levels of daytime sleepiness experienced by narcolepsy and sleep apnoea sufferers.

So instead of reaching for a cup of coffee the next time sleepiness creeps up on you in the afternoon, use the time for a brief nap and enjoy feeling refreshed and rejuvenated without interfering with your night’s sleep.

Nicole Lovato, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Psychology, Flinders University and Leon Lack, Professor of Psychology, Flinders University

Subscribe to My Email List

Sign up to receive my newsletter and updates on new blog posts.

Waiver of Terms

You acknowledge and take full responsibility for your life and well-being, as well as the lives and well-being of your family (where applicable), and all decisions made during and after the Program. In furtherance and not in limitation of the foregoing, you hereby and forever waive, release and discharge me, my heirs, executors, administrators, assigns, officers, agents, employees, representatives, executors, and all others acting on their behalf (the “Released Parties”) from any claims or liabilities for injuries or damages to your person and/or property or that of your family (where applicable), including those caused by negligent act or omission of any of those mentioned or others acting on their behalf, arising out of or connected with your participation in the Program or in connection with services provided by Journey guide Life coach LLC or the Released Parties.

This Agreement may not be modified without the prior written consent of the Client and Coach. The waiver by either party of a breach, right, or obligation shall not constitute a waiver of any other or subsequent breach, right, or obligation. If any provision of this Agreement is found to be invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the remainder of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect. This Agreement sets forth the entire agreement between the parties and supersedes all prior proposals, agreements, and representations between the parties, whether written or oral, regarding the subject matter herein. Neither party may assign this Agreement without the prior written consent of the other party. This Agreement shall be binding upon and shall benefit the parties and their respective successors and permitted assigns. Except as provided to the contrary herein, those provisions of the Agreement that by their nature and context are intended to survive the termination of this Agreement shall survive any termination of this Agreement. This Agreement shall be construed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the state in which the Coach resides without reference to its conflict of law provisions, and with the same force and effect as if fully executed and performed therein. Each Party hereby consents to the exclusive personal jurisdiction of the State and Federal Courts where the Coach resides and acknowledges that venue is proper only in such courts.


The client acknowledges that: (1) you have received a copy of this letter agreement; (2) you have had an opportunity to discuss the contents with me and, if you desire, to have it reviewed by your attorney; and (3) you understand, accept and, agree to abide by the terms thereof. (4)client understands all payments are final no refunds will be made for any reason( 5) client agrees to a minimum of 1 session at the Maximum Price of $300 each ( if you have purchased a monthly package or 90-day package you can still be churched a no show fee of 100% the value of the session ) once involving a package the client understands if they drop out of the program for any reason they will be responsible for the remaining cost of the remaining number of sessions Depending on the package purchased. (Example: if you buy a monthly package of four sessions. Use only one and decide not to continue you are still responsible for the remaining three sessions at full purchase value) packages are non-transferable. (6) client acknowledges they must give 48-hour notice prior to any session cancellations failures to do so Will permit a no-show fee of up to 100 percent of the cost of the session. (7) client understands if they have more than one cancellation during the program they can be dropped from the program and still held responsible for the full cost of the program. (8) this waiver covers all services provided by Journey guide Life coach LLC including but not limited to coaching services classes and training courses workshops etc…

by acknowledging this waiver client agrees the acknowledgment of this waiver is the equivalent to the client’s online signature to all terms.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Client and Coach agree to the terms and conditions set forth in and have duly executed this Client Commitment & Agreement effective as of the booking of A session.