Naps: How They Help And How Long They Should Last

Our busy lifestyles hardly ever allow us to get the rest we need. That said, science suggests that taking a nap during the day can make a world of difference to the way we function.

However, if you’re feeling incredibly groggy on a busy day, you might choose not to nap because you’re worried about feeling worse after. What’s interesting is that a nap that lasts for just the right amount of time can actually give you the energy you need to make it through the rest of the day. Wondering how? Check out these great health benefits of napping.

How Do Naps Help You?

Naps Relieve Your Stress And Make You More Alert

  • Naps are said to enhance your performance and make you more alert. This is precisely why you feel so much better after taking one – for the right duration, of course.
  • Regular naps for the right duration are said to relieve any form of stress, which in turn may lower your risk of heart disease. Try taking
    a nap every day, and stick to a consistent nap schedule – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. is said to be the best time. Napping where it’s dark or putting on an eye mask can help you fall asleep faster. You could also throw on a light blanket to stay warm.
  • You’re bound to feel irritable if you haven’t slept well. Taking a nap for the right amount of time can help elevate your mood and get rid of that irritability caused by sleep deprivation.
  • Napping once in the afternoon for just long enough works tons better than drinking cups and cups of coffee. Caffeine consumption in the evening or afternoon is likely to give you disturbed sleep at night.

What Is The Right Duration For A Nap?

A 20-Minute-Long Nap Is Ideal To Rejuvenate You

If you’re really tired and want to feel better, a nap for the right duration will surely do you good.

Try taking a 20-minute nap. A nap this long is said to

enhance your motor skills and improve your attention, making you more alert and improving your mood and performance. Such a nap also helps you stay in the lightest stage of non-REM sleep. REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep, is that part of your sleep cycle that restores your body and reenergizes it. It’s important for you to stay out of REM sleep when you’re taking a nap because it’s easier for you to get out of sleep and back to work. Set an alarm to ring after 20 minutes so that you avoid sleeping for any longer and waking up all groggy.

Napping for 30–60 minutes will make you hit a deeper stage of sleep called slow-wave sleep. During this time, your brain slows down; so, waking up after a nap this long is likely to leave you dazed and less alert than before. It’ll feel like you’re hungover from sleep. If you intend on taking such a long nap, it’s better to not nap at all.

On the other hand, if you’re able to take a 90-minute nap, you’ll wake up

feeling quite refreshed. Your body will get enough time to complete an entire sleep cycle because you’ve transitioned from the lightest to the deepest sleep stage, or REM sleep, and back. However, it’s a good idea to nap for this long only if you don’t have any important tasks at hand. 90-minute-long naps are said to help boost your creativity and memory.

A recent survey found that people who take short naps are a lot happier than those who take long naps or no naps at all. Close to 70% of the people who participated in the survey were reported to be quite happy. So, take a short nap to feel rejuvenated and happy.