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If only we could lounge around all day like cats — loafing about, slowly getting through the day, and draping our bodies on a variety of surfaces as we get some restorative shut-eye. It sounds like a dream. Unfortunately, society dictates a different reality.

For most people, the day looks a lot less relaxing:

  • Groaning loudly as your phone repeatedly beeps for you to wake up
  • Hitting snooze and sleeping for 9 more minutes
  • Peeling yourself out of bed to start your day
  • Slogging through the day, relying on caffeinated products
  • Trying to power off at the end of the day while emails beckon or crying children (or pets) beg for your attention

Modern life is actively hostile towards those who require more than a couple of hours of sleep to feel recharged — which, by the way, is most humans.

If getting enough rest is a difficult, power napping may be the answer.

Below, we take a look at the benefits of taking quick daytime naps and outline some of the best products to help you maximize your mini sleep sessions.

Ideally, a power nap boosts your energy levels without leaving you groggy. The short duration of a power nap ensures you don’t slip too deeply into sleep and wake up feeling discombobulated.

You might be skeptical about the life-hacking benefits of a power nap, but there’s research showing that taking short, daytime naps can have a positive impact on energy levels, memory, and more.

One 2020 study found that participants who took a 90-minute nap in the afternoon had improved memory function compared to those who skipped the catnap. Another 2020 study concludes that daytime napping may have a positive effect on heart health.

Research also suggests that napping may help with fatigue related to intense cognitive thinking. That morning burst of work takes a lot of brainpower, leaving you feeling exhausted. But a nap might fix that.

A small 2005 study of 10 university students found that short naps of less than 1.5 hours improved alertness and performance — as long as the nap involved at least 3 minutes of stage 2 sleep.

Napping might also help athletic performance. A very small 2020 study with nine participants found that napping may help protect against performance loss caused by sleep deprivation.

Another study found that taking a quick 20-minute nap helped improve muscle strength in sleep-deprived soccer players. Although, the nap didn’t completely reverse the effects of sleep deprivation.

A lot of the recent research on napping uses small sample sizes, so it’s difficult to say for sure whether the results apply to a larger population. More research could help us fully understand the potential benefits of power napping.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $15
  • $$ = $15–$30
  • $$$ = over $30
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Power snuggle yourself to sleep with a weighted blanket

Waowoo Weighted Blanket

  • Price: $$$

Weighted blankets can be an effective tool for reducing symptoms of anxiety and helping people with various mental health conditions — including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — sleep better.

If you’re not getting good sleep because of these conditions, a weighted blanket can be an amazing tool for helping you sneak in a nap during the day.

The Waowoo Weighted Blanket is available in multiple sizes and weights. Reviewers say the blanket helps them sleep and feel relaxed. Even light sleepers find the blanket helpful for getting adequate shut-eye.

Buy the Waowoo Weighted Blanket online.

An eye mask can help you block out light

MZOO Sleep Eye Mask

  • Price: $

Light is the enemy of sleep. Exposure to light at night can impact sleep quality, so it makes sense that napping in a bright space might affect the quality of your power nap.

This eye mask from MZOO is a best-seller on Amazon. Reviewers say it effectively blocks out light, and they love the adjustable strap to keep it secure.

The mask is also contoured with concave spaces for your eyes. So, if you wear eye makeup, your midday nap won’t mess with your lashes.

Buy the MZOO Sleep Eye Mask online.

Keep your room dark with blackout curtains

Amazon Basics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains

  • Price: $$

Blackout curtains are ideal for darkening a space you plan to regularly nap in. You can add them to your bedroom, too, to block out ambient light that keeps you up at night.

Double up on room darkening accessories with these blackout curtains from Amazon Basics. They block light and UV rays. They also dampen noise, which is helpful if your window faces a busy street.

Reviewers say the curtains completely block light and agree that they’re excellent quality for the price. Just be careful when washing and drying them — some people say their curtains didn’t hold up, even when they followed care instructions.

Buy the Amazon Basics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains online.

Cut out noise with a pair of earplugs

Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs

  • Price: $

A noisy environment can completely wreck your napping plans. While some people can easily doze off while a party is happening, most of us aren’t so lucky. Blocking out noise with earplugs increases your chances of getting in a restful afternoon power nap.

Pop in a pair of Mack’s earplugs to quiet your environment while you take a quick nap. The soft foam plugs are comfortable and effectively block out noise with a noise reduction rating of 33 decibels.

These earplugs come in a big jug, so you’ll have plenty on hand for all your napping and sleeping needs.

Buy the Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs online.

Avoid disruptions with a “do not disturb” sign

Fun Plus Sleeping Sign for Door

  • Price: $

You know you need a nap, but the rest of your household might be clueless.

If you can’t find peace, try putting one of these signs on your office or bedroom door. You won’t have to signal your napping intentions every single time you decide to doze off for a power nap.

Buy the Fun Plus Sleeping Sign for Door online.

Use a white noise machine to drown out noise

Raynic White Noise Machine

  • Price: $$

When you easily wake, napping can be super tough. Normal daytime noises make it impossible to quiet your mind. White noise machines can help mask environmental noise and make it easier to actually fall asleep.

Turn on the Raynic White Noise Machine to drown out all the noisy activity going on around you. We can vouch for this white noise machine’s effectiveness.

The white noise machine features a timer and eight sounds (this writer’s favorites are the summer night and forest sounds). Bonus: it can also be helpful if your partner snores like a banshee.

Buy the Raynic White Noise Machine online.

The key to napping is keeping it short. Nap for too long, and you risk entering deep sleep, making it tougher to wake up without grogginess. Too much napping can also increase your risk of heart disease.

Timing is also key. Since a full sleep cycle is typically 90–110 minutes, you either want to hit that sweet spot or sleep for far less time. Most people can’t conk out for more than an hour at lunchtime, but a quick nap that’s 20–30 minutes can be easier to fit in.

You’re also more likely to interrupt your nighttime sleep if you nap too close to bedtime. So, although a post-dinner nap might seem like a great idea at the time, it could cause insomnia later on.

Having a little caffeine before your nap might also help boost your energy levels once you wake up. Just be careful not to have caffeine too close to bedtime.

A note on napping and insomnia

Keep in mind that daytime naps might not be ideal for people who experience insomnia.

While the studies we mentioned show some mental and physical benefits, the National Institutes of Health recommends against daytime naps if you consistently can’t fall and stay asleep at night.

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A power nap can help you feel more alert after a night of sleep deprivation. You shouldn’t rely on napping to get you by, though. Power naps aren’t a substitute for quality nighttime Zzz’s.

If you can’t stay asleep, or you experience excessive daytime sleepiness, you may have a sleep disorder that requires medical attention. If sleep is regularly eluding you, considering talking with a doctor to discuss potential solutions.

Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.