Are Daytime Naps Good for Cognitive Enhancement?

Article by: David Gracey
Are Daytime Naps Good for Cognitive Enhancement?

Did you know that taking a nap during the day can improve your alertness and cognitive performance?

In addition to this, it can improve your memory, and reaction time.

However, it is important to understand the consequences of sleep deprivation on your ability to learn and think.

The importance of sleep for brain function is paramount!

Read on to learn more about the many benefits of taking a daytime nap.

Improves alertness

alert air force pilot

Studies show that taking a midday nap improves alertness and motor performance.

This may be due to the fact that sleep deprivation impairs our ability to learn, perform, and think. Researchers are starting to piece together the benefits of daytime napping.

The benefits of daytime naps may even outweigh those of caffeine.

However, the long-term effects of napping are unknown. For now, scientists recommend taking a short nap in the afternoon, preferably around noon.

A sixty-minute nap may enhance alertness by up to 10 hours.

A study of military pilots found that a forty-minute nap improved their performance and alertness.

Even though naps are short and relatively insignificant, they do help us stay alert during the day.

Studies have shown that naps not only improve alertness, they also boost the brain’s energy stores.

Napping has several psychological benefits, including improving mood and helping us feel more refreshed.

Subjective fatigue and mood measures showed a significant group x time interaction.

The nap group showed improvements in mood and alertness after the intervention, whereas the control and exercise groups experienced no changes.

Similarly, the RT results in the three tests showed that participants were more alert and rested during the nap session, but they were not significantly different from the control and exercise groups.

After correction for Bonferroni errors, the differences in mood and alertness levels were not significant.

Despite its negative reputation, some people swear by the benefits of daytime naps.

These naps may help them catch up on lost sleep and improve their alertness.

Some famous nappers include Leonardo Da Vinci, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and even Bill Clinton.

In addition to boosting alertness, daytime naps may also reduce the pressure that people experience during the day.

This practice is not for everyone. Some people may experience insomnia, a condition wherein the body needs rest.

Improves creativity

Thomas Edison - Wikipedia Image

Researchers have discovered that daytime napping boosts creative performance.

This study replicated the method used by Thomas Edison, who would take a nap while holding a steel ball, marbles, and quarters.

When he awoke, he dropped the objects, and then solved problems.

This discovery may offer new ways to capture creative ideas, and it could be a hidden benefit of the sleep pandemic.

Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center found that daytime napping can enhance creative performance.

Participants completed a math problem by completing it in the quickest time possible.

After that, they were given a 20-minute break, during which they were instructed to hold an object and report on their thoughts.

They also found that the subjects who reached the first stage of sleep had more creative thoughts than those who immediately woke up.

The study has implications for the creative process.

Researchers at Harvard University also discovered that daytime naps improve creativity.

Studies show that daytime naps enhance creativity and productivity, improve memory, and improve executive function.

Daytime naps have also been shown to increase IQ and happiness levels in children.

In addition, daytime naps have been linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and higher rates of creativity.

The benefits of daytime napping are many.

Studies show that it can boost cognitive function, enhance emotional regulation, and boost creative energy.

Many people experience more creative ideas when they nap.

Whether you’re a student, a workaholic, an avid biohacker like myself, or just a creative person, a nap can help you achieve your goals.

It doesn’t take long to see results from daytime napping, so why not incorporate it as early as this week for yourself? 

Improves reaction time


Researchers found that napping can increase cognitive performance.

In one study, participants improved their performance on a texture-distinguishing task after a nap.

The results showed that people improved as much as 10 percent in a daytime nap as they would have been able to do after a full night of sleep.

While the effects of napping were not as clear-cut in auditory reaction time, they still had an effect on overall cognition.

In a recent NASA study, researchers examined the benefits of strategic naps for astronauts.

The crew was divided into two groups, with one group receiving a 40-minute nap and the other not.

The nap group slept for 26 minutes during each session, and showed an 16% improvement in their median reaction times.

The researchers also noted a 34% reduction in performance lapses in the nap group.

This is an obvious benefit for athletes of any level, and anyone who is competitive will definitely appreciate the improved focus.

Researchers concluded that the best times to nap are during the mid-afternoon period (from 13:30 to 16:00 h). This is because the human brain’s peak periods for circadian sleepiness occur during this time.

When napping, however, it’s important to avoid sleepiness during peak hours because it can affect the night-time sleep period.

As a result, napping is a good way to boost mental performance (including focus and concentration abilities) and keep you energized and alert all day.

Other benefits of taking a daytime nap include improved alertness and motor performance.

Sleep deprivation affects our ability to learn, perform, and think.  This is particularly important for people who work long hours.

The resulting effects of daytime napping will be much greater in those who take them at lunchtime. In addition, napping reduces the effects of caffeine on the human body.

This combination of two interventions improves performance, but the effects are diminished if the subjects revert to partial or normal sleep.

Improves memory

daytime napping student

Studies have shown that daytime napping increases memory.

However, the real question is: How does “daytime napping” improve memory?

One recent study looked at 33 undergraduate students, and found that naps significantly improved performance in three memory tests: learning pairs of unrelated words, navigating a computer maze, and sketching a complex drawing from memory.

While daytime napping significantly improved performance in the word-pair test, it did not significantly affect scores in the other two tests.

In addition to helping the brain function better, daytime naps have other benefits.

They improve alertness and creativity, reduce stress, increase stamina, improve perception, and enhance accuracy.

They can also improve a person’s sex life, reduce the risk of heart attacks, and boost overall health. However, the most intriguing aspect of daytime naps is their ability to improve memory, independently of nighttime naps.

While the benefits of daytime naps are still being studied, this research suggests that the benefits of this popular sleep habit may extend into the day.

Sleep has an important role in stabilizing memory, and daytime naps may help the brain better process newly acquired information.

While most sleep studies focus on the benefits of nocturnal sleep, studies examining diurnal naps have found that the benefits are similar. However, the study results vary widely and are not always conclusive.

Researchers have suggested that daytime naps improve the long-term memory, while studies showing its effect on short-term memory are less clear.

Reduces stress

good mood awake from napping

Research also suggests that daytime napping reduces stress and in some cases can even help you sleep better at night.

The most beneficial naps are taken during the afternoon, when people naturally experience a dip in alertness.  The ideal nap time depends on individual preferences and lifestyle.

A 10 to 20 minute power nap can be ideal, as well as a full 90 minute nap to be even more re-charged.


As odd as it sounds, a 30 minute nap (yes, right in between the other 2 lengths I just mentioned) can actually  be counter-productive!

A 30 minute nap can actually have you waking up feeling weak and groggy!

This is the exact opposite of what you want as far as napping benefits are concerned!

Taking a proper daytime nap in the afternoon can have a dramatic effect on your overall mood and well-being.

It will give you more natural energy to tackle the rest of your day in a way that caffeine can’t! 

With a solid afternoon nap in the books, time for the remainder of the day will seem to fly by, and you’ll get a lot more done.

That’s because there always seems to be a direct correlation to being in a good mood and maximizing productivity.   And taking a proper daytime nap can definitely help get you there!

About David Gracey

About David Gracey

Founder of

Hey! My name is David Gracey.  I am the brain child of and a Cognitive Brain Function Researcher, Avid Biohacker, Lucid Dreamer, Morning Ritual Master, and Self-Proclaimed Nootropic Junkie of Sorts! 

In other words, I am completely obsessed with anything and everything related to cognitive brain enhancement! 

Whether it's nootropics supplements, challenging brain puzzles, or even meditation techniques, chances are, I've tried it!  This website is my outlet to give back and share what I've learned in the past 15+ years in this field of study. 

You Can Read my Other Posts Here:  David Gracey's Articles 




About David:

Hey! I’m so glad you’re here. My name is David Gracey. I am a cognitive brain function researcher, avid biohacker, and self-proclaimed nootropic junkie of sorts! (And, yes, a bit of a nerd as well...) I created this website as an outlet to share my passion for self improvement and cognitive brain enhancement. Got questions? Shoot me a message!










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