WORK-LIFE BALANCE / MAY. 03, 2015
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How Long Should You Nap for to Get the Most Benefits?

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Who doesn’t love a good nap? Whether it’s in the middle of a hectic workday or over the course of the weekend, there is nothing quite as wonderful as being able to close your eyes for a few minutes and take a break!

But naps are more than just relaxing and de-stressing – they’re also amazing for your health! Science has proven that napping offers a wide range of benefits, such as a boost of energy, increased alertness, memory and recall improvement, and so much more.

So how long should you nap? Is there such a thing as a nap that is "too short" or "too long"? Here’s what you need to know:

See Also: Creative Ways to Take a Nap at Work

The Powernap: 10 to 20 Minutes

If you’re in the middle of a workday, this is the perfect length of nap to take. Not only is it easy to fit into your lunch break (or hiding out in the storage closet), but it’s the ideal length of nap to wake you up. After just 10 to 20 minutes of napping, you’ll be much sharper mentally, your efficiency will be improved, and you’ll be more productive. Instead of being drowsy and dull all afternoon, have a midday powernap to refresh your brain.

The Nap: 30 Minutes

Once you pass the 20-minute mark, your brain enters a deeper stage of sleep. This is when your brain and body start to make repairs, and it’s harder to break out of this stage of sleep. You’ll find yourself feeling groggy and slow. It can take a few minutes for your brain to jumpstart, though a cup of coffee can help. But after you recover from waking up from the 30-minute nap, you’ll feel rested and refreshed.

Meanwhile, studies have shown that napping for 30 minutes or more, three times per week, can help to reduce your risk of heart disease.

The Hour-Long Nap: 60 Minutes

If you are struggling to remember names, faces, dates, and facts, it’s time for a 60-minute nap. During your hour of napping, your brain will shift the information it has learned, compartmentalizing and storing it for recall at a later date. When you wake up from the hour-long nap, you’ll find that your mind is more "organized", making it easier for you to remember important details. During these 60 minutes, you’ll enter slow-wave sleep which can leave you feeling drowsy.

The Doozy: 90 Minutes

Extending the length of your nap to 90 minutes usually eliminates that drowsy feeling that you get upon waking up from a 30 to 60 minute nap. Your body has had time to circulate between the various stages of sleep, so it’s a much more natural awakening. Best of all, this length of nap can help to improve your capacity to learn new information and recall information recently absorbed.

Taking a nap in the middle of a workday can offer a lot of health benefits, but it’s important that you nap the right way!

How long do you like to nap every day? Leave a comment and let us know…

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