Are you regularly getting sleepy and sluggish in the middle of the day? Do you just want to crawl up somewhere and take a nap? Naps can be beneficial in several ways and can help you to restore that much-needed energy to get on with your day.
Napping is not only for children and many companies realize the importance of taking a nap during the day. It is proven to raise productivity, mood, and cognitive function in employees.
There are many different types of naps, from power naps to deep sleep naps. Take too long a nap and you risk waking up feeling groggy. Take too short a nap and you probably won’t reap the benefits of it at all. So what is the best nap length?
The Difference Between a Nap and Sleep
Sleep involves non-REM and REM cycles. During a night’s sleep, you will cycle many times through non-REM and REM cycles. After a good night’s sleep, you should wake up rested and not tired.
Naps are short sleep periods usually taken during the day and you don’t always go into the REM cycle of sleep.
What Are the Benefits of Napping?
Napping is proven to have a variety of health benefits. If your situation allows it, you should take the opportunity to nap during the day.
- Restore energy
It’s the best way to recharge and get the energy you need to keep on with your day.
- Improve mood
Feeling tired and exhausted during the day can have you cranky and unpleasant to be around. Taking a nap can alleviate those feelings and help you to enjoy the rest of the day.
- Lower blood pressure
Taking short naps during the day can help relax and calm your mind during a stressful period. Reducing anxiety and stress helps lower blood pressure.
- Increase cognitive functions
Taking a nap in the day will help recharge your brain and even help your memory. You can see it as rebooting or restarting your brain.
Warning: If you suffer from insomnia you should refrain from taking daytime naps. Naps may interfere even more with you falling asleep at night and staying asleep.
How Long Should I Nap?
There are a few different factors that will determine what length of the nap is right for you.
- The amount of time that you have available.
- If you sometimes have difficulty falling asleep at night
- How sleepy you are.
- 20-30 minutes Power Nap
Power naps will ensure that your night sleep won’t be affected. A short nap can be considered a power nap and can be as effective as a long nap. You won’t wake up feeling groggy. Sometimes your day is busy and won’t allow more time for a nap. A 20-minute nap is better than no nap at all.
- 30-60 minutes
Studies show that the best nap is about 30 minutes. This is enough time to restore some energy and recharge the brain. A 30 to 60-minute nap will not have you going into a deep sleep, therefore, diminishing the chances of waking up groggy. You will wake up refreshed and ready to go.
- 60-90 minutes
A nap anywhere between 60 to 90 minutes is obviously the most restorative nap. This length of a nap may not be possible for most. Napping for 60 to 90 minutes will have you going into a deep sleep and if you wake during a REM cycle, you will probably feel a little groggy. It will take a little bit more time to get back to your day. Taking a long nap may also interfere with you falling asleep when you settle in for the night.
Anything more than 90 minutes is not a good idea as it will most definitely impede on your night’s sleep. And you definitely don’t want to become sleep deprived because you are taking long naps during the day.
Best Time for a Nap
The best time for a nap is in the afternoon hours between 1 pm and 4 pm. If you take a nap too late in the day it may interfere with your night sleep.
I need a Nap!
Go ahead and take that much-needed nap. It’s proven that it can help you remain productive and stay healthy. There’s a reason why big companies like Google and NASA encourage employees to take naps and even provide nap pods or places for employees to take short naps during the workday.
If you don’t suffer from insomnia or any other sleep disorders then there’s no reason not to lay down for a short period in your day to boost your energy level and recharge your mind.
Take a nap and get on with your day!