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Importance Of A Powernap

July 9, 2014, 6:19 PM by Brittany Larson

Importance Of A Powernap

Ever feel like you could use a power nap during a long work day to recharge your batteries?

New research shows a nap that is shorter than 30 minutes can re-energize you and help you focus on tasks at hand.

"It's a lifestyle," ER Doctor at Avera Heart Hospital, Jeff Anderson, said.

Dr. Jeff Anderson just started his 24-hour shift at the Avera Heart Hospital. He's spent more than two decades practicing as an emergency room doctor, but another thing he's good at is napping.

"It's a skill like anything else. You have to be able to shut down for a period of time and just block everything out and let go.

When Dr. Anderson is on-call he admits he actually gets paid to sleep. At Avera Heart Hospital, there is a designated room for medical staff to catch up on some much needed zzz's.

"It's got to be located in the quiet area of the hospital where in the middle of the day where the hustle and bustle is going on everywhere else or in other areas, it's quiet enough where you can rest and take a nap," Anderson said.

With certain professions that generally have longer shifts or people who are on call. Health experts say catching a quick nap when time allows is beneficial to your productivity and mental alertness.

"Studies have looked at naps between ten minutes and 90 minutes and the ten to 20 minute nap or the so called power nap is probably the best because you don't get into that real deep sleep and if you can get up in 20 minutes you feel refreshed you have a higher energy level," Pulmonologist at Avera McKennan Hospital, Dr. Anthony Hericks said.

It's recommend adults get between seven to eight hours of sleep each night, anything less than that your body will start to shut down on its own. 

"There's a lot of studies that show that lack of sleep increases your risk of errors, decreases attentiveness, alertness and energy level, mood becomes unstable and your physical well-being can also be effected, Hericks said.

With all of Anderson's important job responsibilities, it's crucial he finds the time for some shut eye even in the middle of a shift.

"Sometimes there could be long period of intense boredom punctuated by moments of shear terror and it can happen at any time of the day but usually it quiets down at night and you can count on getting some sleep at night," Anderson said. 

Health experts add that short naps don't affect the quality of nighttime sleep for most people. But if you experience insomnia or poor sleep at night, napping could worsen those problems.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A spelling error was corrected in a quote from Dr. Jeff Anderson.

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