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Why power naps are good for teens

Twenty minutes of power napping in the afternoons can provide your teenager with a much-needed boost of energy.

Are power naps good for teens? According to experts, the answer is yes! Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of sleep and how a power nap can help your teen.

What are power naps?

The term “Power Nap” was coined by Cornell University social psychologist James Maas and is defined as “a short sleep which terminates before the occurrence of deep sleep or slow-wave sleep (SWS), intended to quickly revitalise the subject from drowsiness”.

Why do teens sometimes need a power nap?

While it’s fine for small children to take naps in the afternoon (and even necessary for their mood and energy levels), our culture generally frowns upon mid-day sleep for teens. However, many teens (even those who get enough sleep, but particularly those who don’t), experience a natural increase in drowsiness in the afternoon, about eight hours after waking. A Harvard University study showed that a midday snooze reverses information overload. Burnout, irritation, frustration and poorer performance on a mental task can set in as the day wears on. Their study proved that in some cases napping could even boost performance back to morning levels. The bottom line is, we should allow our teens to take a power nap if they feel their body needs it.

How long should your teen’s power nap last?

Power naps are very short compared to normal sleep. Evidence suggests that an average power nap duration of about 20-30 minutes is most effective. The short duration of a power nap is designed to prevent nappers from sleeping so long that they enter a normal sleep cycle without being able to complete it. Entering a normal sleep cycle, but failing to complete it, can result in a phenomenon known as sleep inertia, where one feels groggy, disorientated, and even more sleepy than before beginning the nap.

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