Preemptive Power Nap

By Emma Forbes

We have discussed how poor sleeping habits and sleep deprivation can lead to a multitude of problems. However, while we may fight to keep a strict schedule life can have its own agenda. It’s tough enough to maintain steady sleep habits but when you throw in things like work, kids, school and traveling we have to learn to be flexible. This is where the preemptive power nap comes in.

Ambulance with siren on
Ambulance with siren on

Ideally, a sleep schedule is a pattern. These patterns can coincide with our circadian rhythms. However, we should be able to compromise. For example, Emergency Medical Technicians in the United States can sometimes work 24- hour shifts. Due to the spontaneous nature of Emergency Medicine, EMT’s can sometimes go these long shifts without being able to sleep a full night or in large chunks of time. Unconventional schedules can call for unconventional sleeping methods.

Thinking Ahead: Preemptive Napping

One of the ways EMT’s can combat sleep deprivation is preemptive power napping. This sleeping tool is adaptable and can literally be a lifesaver. A preemptive power nap may be taken when you are anticipating a change in your normal sleeping pattern. For monophasic sleepers, this means the long chunk of time that is spent on your regular core sleep. For an EMT, who may be working through the night, a preemptive power nap may help ward off mistakes that can be made under the influence of sleep deprivation.

Preemptive power naps are not only useful for EMT’s. If you are planning on traveling overnight or plan on burning the midnight oil on other things like socializing, work or school, a power nap may have outstanding effects.

How to Power Nap

Falling asleep in the middle of the day may be a challenge to some people, especially if you’re not used to doing it. Along with regular tactics that may help you fall asleep, these are some tips to help get that preemptive nap and keep sleep deprivation away.

  • Choose a dark room to nap. Excess light may make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Use headphones. Playing things like binaural beats, white noise, or ASMR can help you relax your mind and drown out environmental noise
  • Make the room a comfortable temperature. If a room is too cold, you may have trouble falling asleep or even wanting to wake up. A room that is too hot may make it hard to have a quality nap and make falling asleep difficult.
  • Choose a set amount of time. Many sources say that the perfect length of time for a power nap is around 90 minutes. This can be different for everyone. Some people can gain a quality nap from just 20 – 30 minutes of sleep.


power napOther than fighting off sleep deprivation, power naps have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Sleep as a whole allows the body to make repairs that can not be accomplished while being awake. While sleep deprivation is bad enough, central nervous system fatigue can cause physical symptoms that mimic the flu.

Whether you are anticipating a long night, or you just want a way to decompress and relax, power napping can have many positive benefits. A preemptive power nap is an easy way to get sleep if you anticipate losing core sleep. Happy napping!