Let’s face it – we all love naps. The tricky part is getting the timing down so that you don’t sleep too long, but enough to feel rested and renewed. The type and length of your nap vary widely depending on what your body needs. Below we explore what type of nap could work best for you.
Ever laid down for a “quick power nap” that ended up lasting 2 hours? Was it hard to fall asleep that same night? You probably could have benefitted more from a 10-20 minute nap rather than the 2-hour nap, despite the significant time difference. There’s a science behind nap types and lengths, and the stages your brain goes through. After considering the information below, you should be able to figure out what type of nap works best with your lifestyle.
Planned napping is just as simple as it sounds. People choose these naps typically to prepare ahead of time if they know they might lose sleep at night. Planned napping is also a good idea if you know you might feel a drop in energy throughout the day and would like to avoid that.
Sometimes we get hit with unexpected tiredness, especially during a busy day. When that happens, we might need to pause and take a nap. Emergency naps are often essential, especially if you’re doing something that requires your full attention, such as working or driving. Stopping whatever you’re doing to get even just a few minutes of rest can help restore your focus and cognitive thinking.
Habitual napping, which is sometimes also planned, involves taking naps around the same time every day. This type of nap is great for someone who knows they’re able to incorporate a break into their day and will need the rejuvenation.
Now let’s look at what the length of your nap means for your brain:
Sometimes, less is more. 10-minute naps show to be a quick-fix for cognitive performance and attentiveness, which can be especially beneficial for someone who has a long workday.
Twenty minutes is typically the recommended amount of time for a nap. At this time, you most likely haven’t reached deep sleep, so it’ll be easier to get back into the swing of things when you wake up. Your brain will have the chance to recharge alertness and improve your performance and mood.
Once you reach this point, you may feel sluggish after waking up and have difficulty kickstarting your day back into action. Naps that go beyond the 30-minute mark will typically reach the deep sleep stage, which comes right before REM (rapid eye movement) stage. These naps may subtract away from your nighttime sleep, which can easily do more harm than good. However, 1-hour naps do show to improve mood and impulsivity, and these naps can be essential for someone who may not get the recommended amount of sleep at night.
A 90-minute nap can benefit you even as much as a full nights sleep, especially if you have trouble sleeping throughout the night regularly. Although this lengthy type of nap can potentially mess up your sleep schedule, it is just as advantageous for your brain as a 1-hour nap is.
Tips for napping:
– Avoid napping too late in the day. If it is close to your usual bedtime, it could easily make it difficult to fall asleep that night.
– Take “coffee naps” – It is scientifically proven that consuming caffeine right before you lay down for a quick nap can significantly aid in giving you that energy your body craves. To learn more about “coffee naps” click HERE.
– Reduce distracting lights and sounds. Make your napping environment as comfortable as possible so that you can fall asleep faster and easier. No one wants to lay down for a 30-minute nap only to get 10 minutes!
On your journey to find the most efficient types of rest check out our other post The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep.
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