When, Why And How Long You Should Nap For Optimal Health
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Napping is a good way to regain some energy if you begin to feel fatigued in the middle of the day, but sleeping for too long can have the opposite effect. There could be multiple reasons for this, including the fact that the longer you sleep, the more your body relaxes and falls into a deeper sleep.
Taking a short nap is not just for children. Experts now recommend taking a power nap during the day to rejuvenate your mind and refresh your body. So, for how long should you nap? Take a look at some of the latest scientific research before you take your next snooze.
Understanding The Stages Of Sleep
In order to understand why a long nap can make you more tired and figure out for how long you should nap, you need to grasp an understanding of the stages of sleep. There are four main stages.
During the first two stages, you are in light sleep. When you reach the third stage, you are in deep sleep. The final stage is referred to as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Dreams typically occur during REM sleep, when you are in a deep slumber. At about four hours of sleep, the sleep cycle restarts.
What Is The Right Duration For A Power Nap?
Try to keep your naps to 20-25 minutes max, not more than thirty minutes. Waking up before the beginning of the third stage will allow you to wake refreshed and energized. Studies show that taking a power nap can increase productivity, cognitive function, creativity, memory, and give you an energy boost.
After about thirty minutes of sleep, when you reach the third stage, your brain begins to inhibit processing and ignores any stimuli that your brain does not feel poses a threat. During this stage, your brain begins to relax so that you can enter a tranquil sleep. Your brain will also start memory consolidation during this period, processing information from the day.
When you awaken from a nap lasting more than thirty minutes, you enter a state known as sleep inertia. You may experience impaired motor function, limited dexterity, grogginess, and the feeling that you should go back to sleep. You are interrupting your sleep and your brain is not happy about it.
If you think that naps do not help you refresh your mind and body, then you are probably taking too long of a nap. Sleeping for too long will leave you feeling groggy and wanting to go back to sleep. Aim for the ideal time of just under thirty minutes.
This is not new research. For many years, scientists have believed that a power nap should last no longer than thirty minutes. The latest research just provides further evidence that thirty minutes is the right length.
In certain cultures, the idea of taking a nap during the middle of the day is common practice. As usual, the developed world has taken time reaching the same conclusion that other people have known for many years – thirty minutes is the perfect length for a power nap.
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