Napping is defined as a short period of sleep or rest, and from naptime in kindergarten to the “20-minute power nap” favored in adulthood, naps can be a core part of one’s daily routine. However, many factors go into napping that are highly individualized. Is napping good for you, and if so, how long should your nap be, and at what time should you take them?
Chances are you’re no stranger to napping. Napping is defined as a short period of sleep or rest, and from naptime in kindergarten to the “20-minute power nap” favored in adulthood, naps can be a core part of one’s daily routine. However, many factors go into napping that are highly individualized. Is napping good for you, and if so, how long should your nap be, and at what time should you take them? Read on to find out the benefits and drawbacks of napping and how you can find the recipe for your perfect nap.
Napping is a healthy, normal behavior that tends to be beneficial for most people! Naps come with several perks, including reducing drowsiness or fatigue, increasing your alertness, aiding in memory, focus, and creativity, regulating emotions, and more.
However, napping isn’t necessarily for everyone. Napping, especially longer naps, has been linked to higher mortality rates, and it can deregulate or throw off your sleep schedule and quality. It can also cause disorientation after you wake up, which is usually the opposite of what you intended!
Find Your Best Nap Length
Most sleep pros advise keeping naps short, from 10 to 30 minutes. Long naps, around 90-120 minutes, can be useful as an emergency response when people have to work very long hours and are sleep deprived. One way to find out which nap duration works best for you would be by testing out a variety of different nap lengths and tracking which ones leave you feeling least drowsy and most refreshed.
Try To Nap Early
Napping too close to the time you go to bed for the night could disrupt your ability to fall asleep. Try to limit your naps to the early afternoon, before 3 PM if you can. This “rule” obviously has exceptions, however, especially for night shift employees or new parents, who can use all the sleep they can get!
Create Your Ideal Nap Environment
Make it easier for yourself to nap by curating your own personalized sleep environment. Depending on where you are, you may not have access to your mattress, a pillow, or a blanket, but try to make your napping space as dark, quiet, cool, and conducive to sleep as possible.
Try Relaxation Techniques
We’ve all tried to nap or go to sleep and found that we couldn’t due to external worries or racing thoughts. Try to mitigate your stress by meditating or doing other relaxing exercises, such as yoga or breath work.
Did you enjoy this article? Be sure to check out our blog to learn more about Sleep Timing.
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Heid, Markham. “You Asked: Is It Good or Bad to Take a Nap?” Time, Time, 1 Oct. 2014, https://time.com/3449959/is-napping-healthy/.
“How to Get a Great Nap.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Nov. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319.
Santos-Longhurst, Adrienne. “How Long Should I Nap? A Guide to Healthy Sleep Rejuvenation.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 19 Mar. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-should-i-nap.