If you’re like the average American, you are probably sleep deprived.  Inadequate sleep reduces your concentration, alertness, creativity and performance at work.1,2  It also makes you more prone to make mistakes, feel tired, grouchy, and increases your cravings for sweet and fatty foods.3,4

As a nation, we value doing more and place little emphasis on taking breaks, having fun and resting.  In other countries, however, working less, playing more, taking breaks and sleep are cultural norms.  Fortunately, there is a cultural shift taking place that emphasizes working smarter, taking more breaks and even napping on the job! So whether or not you believe that you get adequate sleep, you probably can benefit from adding an afternoon power nap.

An afternoon nap, or siesta, can help you to improve your mood, alertness, vigor and be your mini vacation to relax and feel rejuvenated.5,6 It will help you be less prone to mistakes and increase your creativity as well as your job performance.7,8 In order to reap all of these health promoting benefits keep these simple guidelines in mind.

Take brief naps (i.e. 10 – 30 mins) early in the afternoon (i.e., no later than 3:00 pm) to feel recharged and avoid sleep inertia (i.e., feeling groggy and possibly experiencing insomnia). And please remember to take your nap in a dark room, laying down and free of any distractions or potential interruptions.

To your health and success,

Dr. Sandoval

  1. Thomas, M, Sing, H, Belenky, G, Holcomb, H, Mayberg, H, Dannals, R, et al. “Neural basis of alertness and cognitive performance impairments during sleepiness. I. Effects of 24 h of sleep deprivation on waking human regional brain activity. Journal of Sleep Research. (2000). 9 (4) 335-352.
  2. Van Dongen, HPA, Maislin, G, Mullington, JM, and Dinges, DF. “The Cumulative Cost of Additional Wakefulness: Dose-Response Effects on Neurobehavioral Functions and Sleep Physiology from Chronic Sleep Restriction and Total Sleep Deprivation.” Sleep. (2003). 26 (2) 117-126.
  3. Rosen, I, Gimotty, PA, Shea, JA, Bellini, LM “Evolution of Sleep Quantity, Sleep Deprivation, Mood Disturbances, Empathy, and Burnout among Interns.” Academic Medicine. (2006). 81 (1) 82-85.
  4. Wiley, TS & Formby, B (2001). Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival.
  5. Milner, CE and Cote, KA.  “Benefits of napping in healthy adults: impact of nap length, time of day, age, and experience with napping.” Journal of Sleep Research.  (2009). 18 (2) 272-281.
  6. Rosekind, MR, Smith, RM, Miller, DA, CO, EL, Gregory, KB, Webbon, LL, et al. “Alertness Management: strategic naps in operational settings.”  Journal of Sleep Research. (1995). 4 (2) 62-66.
  7. Mednick, SC, Drummond, SPA Boynton, GM. “Perceptual deterioration is reflected in the neural response: fMRI study between nappers and non-nappers.” Perception. (2008). 37 (7) 1086-1097.
  8. Tietzel, AJ and Lack, LC. “The recuperative value of brief and ultra-brief naps on alertness and cognitive performance.” Journal of Sleep Research. (2002). 11 (3) 213-218.

The information, published and/or made available through the www.drjosesandoval.com website is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a physician-patient relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information in this post for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should consult a physician in all matters relating to your health, particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.  Any action on the reader’s part in response to the information provided in this blog is at the reader’s discretion.