The Magic of Power Naps
All students are familiar with that wave of exhaustion they get when they finally get home from school… that moment when they can finally put their backpacks down, lay on their beds, and fall asleep.
Although students have different afternoon routines that keep them busy, perhaps involving sports practices, work, help sessions, homework, or even TV-watching, midday exhaustion is not uncommon. In fact, many cultures use the period between 2 and 5 pm to take a short rest, as they recognize the importance of recharging one’s 'batteries.' That being said, it can be extremely refreshing and energizing for students to pause, take a deep breath, and take a 30 minute power nap after school.
According to WebMD, not only are power naps great for a quick refresh, but they are also useful to boost memory. These extra 30 minutes of sleep can help students absorb the day’s content before they begin their homework and test prep later in the day.
What about Grogginess?
Taking naps under 30 minutes should prevent grogginess. Students can still feel more rested and ready to begin their schoolwork without getting into their REM (deep sleep) stage. In fact, the sleep stages following 30+ minutes are what lead to a drowsy and groggy awakening, which can impact students' progress later in the day and disturb nightly bedroom routines. To avoid this, be sure to set a timer to ensure students avoid sleeping longer than the maximum recommendation of 30 minutes.
Ideal Time of Day for a Power Nap
It is advised that students take a power nap as soon as they arrive home from school, but we recognize that with various work and after school activity conflicts, students might not have this option. For these students, we recommend prioritizing getting a full night’s rest (8-9 hours), and if this cannot be achieved, we suggest finding a small window of time to take one of those handy power naps.
Giving the brain a break from stressors for 30 minutes can have a positive impact on focus, memory, and alertness. To some students, reaching for that extra cup of coffee may help them finish all of their schoolwork, but it may also cause potential disruptions like insomnia, anxiety, jitteriness, and dehydration. The next time you see your student reaching for an energy drink, consider advising them to take a short nap to recharge instead!