While adequate sleep every night is necessary for the overall prolonged health of your body and of course beauty, we have all experienced firsthand that a full night’s sleep is not always possible. The next best option is your daytime power nap. Luckily we have science to thank for helping us determine the precise amount of time needed to reach our desired outcome of a nap.
This is the ideal nap for a quick boost in alertness and energy when you are still under a time crunch. The short length of this nap does not allow you to reach a stage of deep sleep that would otherwise leave you feeling rather groggy afterwards. It is the perfect time to allow you to hit the ground running and continue straight into the day after waking up.
If you think you need a little longer power nap and like the round number of 30 minutes, this is the nap for you. A nap this long is likely to cause sleep inertia, a hangover-like feeling, which will last for another 30 minutes after waking up. An easy solution to this is called the “caffeine nap”. Caffeine takes on average 20-30 minutes to kick in after consumption so drink a cup of coffee before taking a nap and you will wake up just as the caffeine is beginning to take precedence over your grogginess.
This length is best for boosting cognitive memory processes like remembering facts, faces, and names. This amount will definitely bring you into the deepest slow-wave sleep and leave you feeling groggy after waking up. After overcoming that, this will reap the same mental sharpness as a 10-20 minute nap, with that mental sharpness lasting a bit longer.
People will generally go through a full cycle of sleep during this time which includes both lighter and deeper stages of sleep. This length typically avoids the aversive effects of sleep inertia making it much easier to wake up feeling rested and results in improved emotional and procedural memory as well as learning ability.
Quick Nap Tips:
- If under a time crunch, be sure to nap lying down. It takes 50% longer to fall asleep while sitting upright.
- Napping between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. is ideal—anything much later will interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.
- Make sure to nap in a dark, quiet space to make your nap as effective and disturbance-free as possible.
- If you’re an insomniac you should avoid naps altogether. Naps could make it remarkably harder to fall asleep at night. Research has shown that avoiding naps can actually improve sleep continuity for insomniacs.
- Set an alarm! Your body will eventually learn to nap for the amount of time you set aside but it is better to be safe than sorry.
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