The Navy SEAL Nap: An 8 Minute Power Nap That Leaves You Feeling Fresh 

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The US Navy SEALs are often seen as the fittest, healthiest people in the country, so replicating Navy SEALs’ training, diet, and other behaviors may be a key to improving your own fitness and health.

Although Navy SEAL workouts from basic training tend to be the focus of most people looking to harness their own inner Navy SEAL, there are some other lifestyle hacks that we can take from the Navy SEALs that may be helpful in our own lives, one of which is the Navy SEAL nap.

But, what is the Navy SEAL nap technique? Does the 8 minute Navy SEAL nap work? Is a military nap or a marine nap better than a regular power nap?

In this article, we will discuss the ever-growing trend of the 8 minute Navy SEAL power nap, focusing on whether the Navy SEAL nap trick works and whether military napping is different or better than regular power napping.

We will look at: 

  • What Is the Navy SEAL Power Nap?
  • How to Take the Navy SEAL Power Nap
  • Does the Navy SEAL Nap Hack Work?
  • Who Should Try the Navy SEAL Nap?

Let’s get started!

A person taking a Navy Seal nap.

What Is the Navy SEAL Power Nap?

The Navy SEAL power nap, also called the 8 minute Navy SEAL power nap, is credited to former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, who first discussed his military napping technique in 2019 on The Peter Attia Drive.

This Navy SEAL sleep technique for napping involves lying down with your feet elevated above your heart. According to Willink, you are to set your alarm for 8 minutes (sometimes 10 or 12). 

On the podcast, Willink says that after waking up from the 8-minute Navy SEAL nap:

“I feel like Superman. I feel like I just slept for eight hours.” 

Then, on April 28, 2022, TikToker Nick Vitello, who has over half a million followers, shared a TikTok video of himself trying the Navy SEAL sleep hack, and the nap technique went viral.

Legs elevated.

How to Take the Navy SEAL Power Nap

Although there are a few versions of the Navy SEAL napping technique, here is how to do Willink’s 8 Minute Navy SEAL nap:

  1. Lie on the floor or another comfortable surface with your feet elevated above your head.
  2. Close your eyes and try to nap for 8 minutes.
  3. Wake up feeling energized and refreshed!

Note that the Navy SEAL nap technique does allow for up to 12 minutes of napping.

Does the Navy SEAL Nap Hack Work?

So, is the Navy SEAL nap trick effective?

Essentially, the 8 minute Navy SEAL sleep technique is a super short daytime power nap.

Daytime naps, and even “power naps,” which are short-duration naps designed to boost energy, are nothing new, but the key difference between the Navy SEAL nap hack and a regular power nap or daytime nap is the length of the Navy SEAL nap.

A person napping on a couch.

The Navy SEAL Nap is ideally supposed to last only 8 minutes, but may be extended up to 12 minutes at most, whereas a typical power nap is 20 to 30 minutes, or sometimes even up to 45 minutes, and a regular daytime nap may be closer to 90 minutes or two hours.

According to Mayo Clinic, napping can boost energy, focus, and alertness.

One of the benefits of the 8 minute Navy SEAL nap technique is that the super short power nap duration is not long enough to negatively impact sleep cycles at night, yet adding a quick military nap in the afternoon may be just the amount of rest you need to refresh and feel energized for the second part of your day.

In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, the early afternoon is the best time for the Navy SEAL nap because this is a time of day or point in the circadian rhythm where the particular hormonal levels leave the body feeling more sluggish and tired.

But, why do you elevate your feet for the Navy SEAL nap?

So far, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to suggest that elevating your feet above the level of your heart when you take an 8 minute Navy SEAL nap actually provides any additional benefits. 

A person napping in a hammock.

In fact, some sleep experts say that this position might be uncomfortable for many people and may impede your ability to actually fall asleep.

Therefore, if you don’t find elevating your feet during a Navy SEAL nap to be helpful, you can try just doing the 8 minute nap with your feet level with your body or whatever position you find to be the most comfortable for sleeping.

That said, if you do a lot of exercise—like Navy SEAL training—elevating your legs can potentially reduce swelling and support the removal of metabolic byproducts from the muscles.

Who Should Try the Navy SEAL Nap?

Deciding whether the Navy SEAL nap technique is right for you is generally as simple as just trying out this military power nap hack and seeing if it works well for you.

There is generally no harm in trying this napping technique.

If you don’t find it works for you, you certainly don’t need to force yourself to keep up the routine.

A person napping on a couch.

However, it is important to note that it often takes several tries to get your body adjusted to such a short nap. 

Many people find that they cannot fall asleep within the 8 to 12 minute Navy SEAL nap protocol for the first handful of times they give it a try, and it may take upwards of a week or more of consistent attempts until you have trained your body to relax and fall asleep in a timely manner.

Therefore, if you are interested in incorporating the Navy SEAL nap into your wellness routine and overall lifestyle but don’t find that you are able to sleep during your first few eight-minute Navy SEAL nabs, rather than extend the duration of the nap until you fall asleep, just keep trying each day to build a habit.

Set a routine where you are closing your eyes, lying down, with or without elevating your feet, at the same time every day (preferably in the early afternoon).

Give your body time to acclimate to your Navy SEAL nap technique before deciding that military napping isn’t going to work for you.

A person napping on the floor.

Optimize your sleep environment by turning down all of the lights, using a blue light filter on your screen devices for the 90 minutes before your nap begins, avoiding caffeine in the six hours before your Navy SEAL nap, and using a white noise machine.

You may even find that meditating before your 8 minute Navy SEAL nap helps activate your parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system, which can help relax your body and mind and help you fall asleep faster.

However, if you suffer from insomnia, napping during the daytime can exacerbate your issues and cause further disruption to your sleep cycles at night.

Furthermore, the Navy SEAL nap technique suggests elevating your feet above the level of your heart while you sleep. 

This nap position is contraindicated for anyone with circulation issues, such as those with diabetes or peripheral neuropathy in the feet, as elevating the feet will make it harder for blood flow to reach the distal digits on your feet. 

Moreover, there is a risk of increased back pain if you are lying in the Navy SEAL nap position on an unsupportive surface or if you have tight hamstrings

A person napping on a couch.

Therefore, it is advisable to modify the Navy SEAL nap technique position to a regular reclined position if any of these conditions apply to you or if you have other problems with elevating your legs during sleep. 

Even if you have healthy circulation, it is important to set your alarm during the 8 minute Navy SEAL nap hack so that you do not fall asleep for an extended period of time with your feet above your head.

This can lead to paresthesia, pins and needles, and poor circulation in your feet, and it may cause increased blood flow to the head, which may increase the risk of headaches and sinus congestion.

Ultimately, there may be some helpful Navy SEAL nap benefits, and you might feel more energized and refreshed after a short, 8-minute Navy SEAL nap.

However, adding the Navy SEAL nap trick to your daily routine should not replace the focus on getting a good night’s sleep.

The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night, so the Navy SEAL nap is not going to replace the restorative benefits of all of the sleep cycles and stages you need with a full night of sleep.

For more information on power naps in general, click here!

A person napping in his suit on the grass.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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