Best Nap Length: How Long Should A Nap Be?

Best Nap Length: How Long Should A Nap Be?

Written by Dreamcloud Editorial Team

Last Updated on Oct 18, 2022

In this article:

    Is there anything more rejuvenating than a good nap? A good nap though is all about timing. If your nap is longer or shorter than required, it can make you feel tired and groggy or ineffective if it is too short. You may be wondering- what is the best nap length?

    Is there a magical number of minutes that you should nap for? Does it matter? By the end of this blog post, we will clear all your doubts. 

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    Different Types of Naps

    Based on the benefits they serve, we can divide naps into five different types:

    1. Recovery Nap

    If you didn’t sleep well last night, you will feel tired and irritated all day the next day. To make up for your sleep loss, you can take a recovery nap the following day. 

    2. Prophylactic Nap

    This kind of nap is taken as a preparatory step to compensate for a night’s sleep loss. People who take night shifts can schedule and take naps before to stop themselves from feeling sleepy during working hours. 

    3. Appetitive Nap

    Appetitive naps are taken solely for pleasure. As naps are great for boosting energy and alleviating mood, people take appetitive naps for these benefits.

    4. Fulfillment Nap

    Children and toddlers have a greater need for naps than adults. Therefore, for their daily fulfillment, naps are scheduled in the daytime. 

    5. Essential Nap

    Our body needs more rest if it is unwell. Resting gives our proper body time to heal and recover. Therefore, it is essential naps are generally taken during sickness.

    Different Types of Nap Lengths

    1. The Power Nap

    The best length of time for a power nap is 10 to 20 minutes. During a power nap, you remain in the first stage of your sleeping. After a perfect duration of light sleeping, you wake up feeling refreshed and energetic.

    2. 30 Minute Nap

    After 30 minutes of sleeping, you enter stage two. In stage two, you get detached from the environment and get ready to dive into a deep sleep. If you wake up in-between stage 2, you may feel sleep inertia. 

    3. A 60 Minute Nap

    During a 60 minute nap, you are in stage 3 of a sleep cycle. Stage 3 is the most beneficial of all for body recovery and growth. However, if you wake up during this stage, you may once again feel sleep inertia. 

    4. The REM Nap

    By a 90 to 120 minutes nap, you will complete your sleep cycle. It can help you in waking up more refreshed and energetic than the shorter naps. If you had disturbed sleep the night before, this is the ideal nap length for you. Although, you may have trouble sleeping at night. 

    Best Nap Length – How Long Should I Nap?

    When we fall asleep, we go through different sleep stages. 

    When we sleep for 5 minutes or less, our body cannot enter sleep stages, and when we sleep for more than 30 minutes, our body enters deep sleep. Waking up from deep sleep can make you feel dizzy and tired, and irritated for some time. This feeling is known as sleep inertia. 

    Considering all the above points, napping for 10-20 minutes is ideal. 10-20 minutes long naps are also called power naps because of their dynamic effects. During power naps, you do not enter deep sleep while getting enough rest. 

    If 10-20 minutes are not enough for you, you can consider napping for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes of sleeping, you complete all the stages of sleep; hence you do not wake up with sleep inertia. A 90 minutes nap can make you feel more energized and creative. 

    But wait! Doesn’t a rainy day make you feel more sleepy?

    Are Naps Good for You? Benefits of Napping

    1. Napping Reduces Our Homeostatic Sleep Drive

    Homeostatic sleep drive is the urge to sleep. When we wake up in the morning, the sleep drive is low. As the day passes, the drive increases. Napping in the daytime reduces the homeostatic drive and makes us feel energetic and refreshed throughout the day. 

    2. Napping Makes Us More Alert

    Studies have shown that nappers are more alert than caffeinated people. Being more alert can help focus and work efficiently on different tasks.

    3. Napping Reduces Stress

    Sleep deprivation can lead to many problems, the most prominent being stress. 

    We already know, stress can lead to various serious health problems like heart diseases, anxiety, lack of concentration, memory loss, and other issues. Napping helps in reduces stress and makes us emotionally and physically stable.

    4. Naps Can Boost Our Mood

    Being tired for an extended period can make us irritated. However, when we take some time to rest, we become energized, and this elevates our mood. 

    5. Napping Can Improve Our Cognitive Skills

    It’s hard to be mentally active when you are feeling sleepy and tired. Resting can boost our cognitive skills as well. Studies have shown that a well-rested mind works more intelligently than an exhausted mind.

    How to Nap Effectively?

    If you consider the points below, you can nap more efficiently than ever:

    • Set an Alarm

    Set the alarm for 10 to 20 minutes before taking a nap. Setting the alarm can help you from resting for more than needed. 

    • Nap Early

    Take a nap in the afternoon. Napping in the afternoon can save you from sleeping difficulties at night. Try to nap between 2 PM or 3 PM.

    • Find a Suitable Environment

    Make sure the environment is silent and dark. There are chances you don’t have a bed nearby or are need to nap at work; try finding a comfortable, quiet, and relaxed place.

    • Try Deep Breathing Technique

    To nap effectively, you need to calm your mind and set your worries aside. Then, you can try techniques such as meditation and deep breathing. You can also light a lavender-scented candle to relax your mind and dive into a power nap.

    Napping can be advantageous for you, but factors such as duration and age can make naps harmful too.

    Here’s How Napping Can Be Harmful

    • Trouble Sleeping at Night

    Napping can disturb your night sleeping schedule. You may find it difficult to sleep at night quickly. Sleep deprivation at night can make you feel exhausted the following day. It can also lead to psychological diseases like insomnia. Try napping for a shorter duration to avoid the problem.

    • Sleep Inertia

    Taking a nap for more or less than the required time can give you the pain of sleep inertia. Sleep inertia makes you feel more tired and irritated than ever. To save yourself from the crisis, take a power nap or a REM nap.

    Napping vs. Sleeping – What Are the Differences?

    The most significant difference between a nap and sleep is the duration. Naps are helpful for a quick recharge, whereas sleep works as a complete reset. Resting for a shorter duration(between 10 minutes to 90 minutes) to feel energized for a temporary period is called a nap—sleeping includes resting for long hours, typically 6 to 8 hours. 

    When you sleep, you go through all the stages of a sleep cycle, more than once. On the other hand, while taking a nap, you do not go through all the steps. 

    Best Nap Length for Adults

    30mins is probably enough to give you that much-needed boost. Adult life comes with work and other obligations. With the considerable number of duties, it’s often difficult to squeeze some time for napping while sleeping for too long may alps pose a problem.

    According to the researchers, sleeping for long hours can also lead to diabetes, depression, insomnia, and heart problems. Take naps of shorter duration to not miss out on quality sleep at night. Power naps are a great fit for a healthy adult.

    Best Nap Length for a Child

    Anywhere between 30 mins to 2 hours is a good nap length for children. Children and infants require to sleep more than adults do. Taking naps can be beneficial for their physical, intellectual, and emotional development. Sleeping requirements differ with age. 

    Infants spend the majority of their life in sleeping. Sleeping is essential for an infants’ development. While for toddlers, napping can help in improving their language and memory ability. Children require at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep. 

    Napping time decreases with age. Teenagers face different challenges while sleeping. For example, napping in the daytime can affect their night’s sleep, which is not noticeable with infants and toddlers. 

    Conclusion

    We hope this article helped you gain insights about the best length for napping and learn some napping facts. Now that you have learned all about napping, it’s time for you to switch off the lights, pull over your blanket, and get into a deep slumber. How many minutes of naps do you need every day? Tell us in the comment section. 

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
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