Study Buddy (Explorer): How to recharge with a power nap – tips on where, when and how to snooze

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  • Check your reading comprehension using the questions below or in the linked Kahoot! game
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Sleep experts give advice on how to take the best power nap without feeling groggy afterwards

Content provided by the British Council

Read the following text and answer questions 1-9 below:

[1] Young children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from naps. After hours of working or school, many people experience a slump of drowsiness in the middle of the day. But instead of grabbing a caffeinated drink, it may be more worthwhile to fight your sleepiness with sleep.

[2] A power nap can “provide the refreshment you need if you’re struggling to stay alert or haven’t had a good night’s sleep,” explains Rebecca Robbins, a sleep scientist in the US. A power nap “gives people the chance to rest for a short period of time to boost workplace productivity,” she says. But they are only helpful when they are done correctly.

[3] Sleep experts say that power naps should be quick and refreshing to make you more alert. They should typically be between 20 and 30 minutes long. “You don’t have to go to sleep fully,” says James Maas. Maas is a former professor of psychology at Cornell University who coined the term “power nap” more than 50 years ago. “It’s an opportunity to shut your eyes, breathe slowly and recharge.”

[4] For most people, 15 minutes should be enough to power through the rest of the day. However, Maas says that lengthier naps are counterproductive and even detrimental. “Never nap for 60 minutes. If you power nap any time longer than 40 minutes, you’re going to wake up feeling very groggy for another hour or so.”

[5] Shelby Harris is a clinical psychologist who has written a book about sleep. She adds that the best time to take your power nap is between 1pm and 3pm. Napping any later in the day “can interfere with your sleep at night.”

[6] Coffee or soda is likely to “damage your sleep at night and only offer short term energy for about 30 minutes,” Robbins says. But a power nap is a healthier option to improve performance, strengthen memory and boost creativity.

[7] Harris adds naps have long-term health benefits too, such as improving your mood and helping with stress management. “Power naps can reduce accidents and mistakes while also improving attention, alertness, concentration and performance.”

[8] But naps aren’t for everyone. Some people report feeling more tired after a 20-minute snooze than they did before lying down. “That’s likely someone who didn’t set their alarm and slept through the 20 minutes. If you interrupt yourself in the wrong stage [of sleep], that’s when you wake up groggy,” Robbins says. Maas says that grogginess usually does not last, and a splash of cold water on your face can wake you up again.

[9] Set aside a comfortable place and time to nap. If you’re at home, don’t stay at your desk. Instead, take a nap in your bed, or anywhere you can lean back. Put your alarm away from the bed, so you will have to physically get up and turn it off.

[10] Don’t stay in the dark once the 20 minutes are up. Get up, walk around and see some sunlight to fight grogginess. Avoid napping if you have trouble sleeping at night. Anyone with insomnia-like symptoms should not sleep during the day. “Power naps are not for those who have difficulty falling or staying asleep at night.”

Source: Tribune News Service; August 30


Play a Kahoot! game about this story as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:

1. Apart from adults, which other group of people can benefit from taking naps?

2. According to paragraph 1, what does the article suggest readers NOT do to stay awake?

3. What did James Maas invent according to paragraph 3?
A. the idea of power napping
B. the phrase “power nap”
C. different types of power naps
D. a way to increase alertness during the day

4. Match the following words from paragraph 4 to their meanings below. (3 marks)
Words: (i) groggy; (ii) counterproductive; (iii) detrimental
A. having the opposite effect
B. harmful
C. feeling confused and tired

5. According to paragraph 5, why is 1pm to 3 pm the best time to take a power nap?

6. What should you do after a power nap if you feel sleepy according to paragraph 8?

7. Read paragraphs 9 and 10 to decide whether the following statements are True, False or Not Given. (4 marks)
(i) You will feel more rested if you nap on a bigger bed.
(ii) Have your alarm next to you when you sleep.
(iii) You should walk around in daylight after a power nap.
(iv) It is best to sleep at your desk so you can go back to work right after your nap.

8. Which group of people mentioned in paragraph 10 should not take power naps?

9. Which of the following is a benefit of taking a power nap? Tick the correct answers. (3 marks)
A. It increases productivity.
B. It can damage your memory.
C. It helps you to be more creative.
D. It helps you sleep better at night.
E. It can make you grow taller.
F. It can help you manage stress.


1. young children
2. have a caffeinated drink
3. B
4. (i) C; (ii) A; (iii) B
5. Napping any later in the day will interfere with sleeping at night.
6. splash cold water on your face
7. (i) NG; (ii) F; (iii) T; (iv) F
8. those who have difficulty falling/staying asleep at night
9. A; C; F

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