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Getting napping right can be tricky. If it’s too short you can wake up feeling worse, and if it’s too long you can disrupt your sleep cycle come bedtime. The perfect power nap time usually lasts between 10 - 20 minutes.
By keeping your nap restricted to this time range, you remain within the early stages of your five-stage sleep cycle. Usually, your deepest phase of sleep, called REM sleep, occurs 90 minutes after falling asleep. Waking up during this phase will leave you feeling disoriented and groggy.
The goal of any nap should be to wake up feeling refreshed with a boost of energy, which requires sleeping no longer than 20 minutes. The one exception is serious sleep deprivation, in which case a nap of 90 to 120 minutes may be appropriate.
Benefits Of Napping
When executed correctly, there are many benefits to catching some Zzz’s during the day. Here are a few:
- Avoiding the mid-afternoon slump. If your schedule allows for it, taking a quick rest in the middle of the day can boost your energy and productivity for the second half of the afternoon. Some companies allow and even encourage napping in the workplace.
- Enhanced performance. Various studies have shown that napping can improve focus and memory, especially in an educational or professional setting. A quick nap can help you retain information better.
- Lowered blood pressure. A recent study showed that midday sleep can be as effective as other blood pressure reduction tactics, such as cutting back on salt.
- Improved mood. Believe it or not, a short nap can make you temporarily happier! It gives you a chance to relax, destress, and refocus along with reducing feelings of irritability.
Unfortunately, there are cons to napping if you don’t keep It to the best nap length. You may experience sleep inertia and return to the task at hand feeling even drowsier and more disoriented than before. If you struggle with sleep issues or insomnia, frequent or longer naps can have a negative impact on experiencing a regular sleep schedule. So keep it short and light!
When To Nap
The best nap length depends on what time you wake up, along with other factors like your sleep schedule and age. However, most researchers recommend napping in the early afternoon. Even a short nap after 3 p.m. can negatively interfere with your sleep for the night.
Tips For The Perfect Nap Time
If you plan on reaping the benefits of a quick midday nap, here are a few tips:
- Set an alarm. Don’t let your nap run over! Set an alarm (not on the loudest volume) to ease yourself back into wakefulness.
- Drink caffeine shortly beforehand. While this may sound counterintuitive, caffeine starts to kick in about 10 to 15 minutes after consumption. If you plan on taking a very short nap, a cup of coffee or tea before nap time can help you wake back up.
- Meditate. If you feel anxious about keeping your nap short, or any other stressors you’re dealing with when you lie down, take a minute or two to breathe deeply and be mindful before or after napping.
- Use sleep aids. And no, we don’t mean medication. It’s best to nap in a comfortable, quiet and dark spot, but if you only have a few minutes to lie down somewhere less than ideal (like your car), try using ear plugs and a sleep mask to mimic a healthy sleeping environment.
Nap On A Bed Custom To You
While makeshift napping spaces are sometimes necessary, there’s no better place to nap than the comfort of your own bed. Even better is napping on a bed that is custom to fit your specific sleep preferences and needs.
Luckily, bedMATCHⓇdoes just that. bedMATCHⓇⓇis our diagnostic sleep system that uses scientific data to provide you with up to six mattress recommendations that give your body the exact support and comfort it needs. This quick and free test gives you invaluable insights that can change your sleep experience and overall health drastically.