When and How to Make the Most of a Nap

Someone Napping Outdoors

Napping is good for everyone, regardless of age, gender, health, ethnicity or geographical location. It improves emotional abilities and memory and provides one with the energy to get through the afternoon. However, knowing when to nap and how long to nap for can mean the difference between a highly productive afternoon and a groggy, sleepy one.

When Do You Need to Nap?

Generally speaking, the best time to nap is between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. This is usually the time when the average person experiences the highest level of post-lunch sleepiness. Additionally, taking a nap within this time period enables one to still get a good night's rest.

How Long Do You Need to Nap?

While it may seem like a long nap is better than a short one, the opposite is actually true. The best length of time to nap for is ten to twenty minutes. During this time, the body goes into a light REM sleep that is easy to awake from. What is more, a short power nap enables one to jump into work immediately without feeling groggy and sleepy.

However, those who want or need more sleep will find the next best option is to take a 90 minute nap. A 1 1/2 hour nap is just right for a full cycle of sleep and enables one to wake up feeling refreshed. Research has also shown that a 90 minutes nap improves creativity and procedural and emotional memory.

Getting enough sleep is important if you want to stay healthy and energetic; however, you do want to avoid sleeping too long and/or falling asleep at the wrong time. If you feel the urge to nap during the day, then schedule either a short power nap or a full 90 minute one for the best results.


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