1. Abandon all-nighters - Foregoing sleep by cramming all night reduces your ability to retain information by up to 40%. If you can, mix in a nap somewhere to refresh your hippocampus.
2. It doesn’t mean what you think - If you know you have to pull an all-nighter, try a “prophylactic nap.” It’s a short nap in advance of expected sleep deprivation that will help you stay alert for up to 10 hours afterwards.
3. You can’t avoid that down period after lunch by not eating - Human bodies naturally go through two phases of deep tiredness, one between 2-4 a.m. and between 1-3 p.m. Skipping lunch won’t help this period of diminished alertness and coordination.
4. Pick the right time - After lunch in the early afternoon your body naturally gets tired. This is the best time to take a brief nap, as it’s early enough to not mess with your nighttime sleep.
5. Hour naps are great - A 60-minute nap improves alertness for 10 hours, although with naps over 45 minutes you risk what’s known as “sleep inertia,” that groggy feeling that may last for half an hour or more.
6. But short naps are best - For healthy young adults, naps as short as 20, 10, or even 2 minutes can be all you need to get the mental benefits of sleep, without risking grogginess.