Many of us quit taking regular naps after moving on from our childhood years. But did you know that making naptime a part of your day has numerous benefits? It’s true that napping can help to make up lost sleep time from the night before, which is the reason many do it in the first place. However, making naps a part of your routine can offer a substantial improvement in your day. According to the Mayo Clinic, napping can provide you with such benefits as added relaxation, increased alertness, reduced fatigue, and better performance overall.
So how long should your nap be? This depends on a variety of factors, including what you want to get out of the nap in the first place. Let’s examine the benefits of both long and short naps.
A short nap can be classified as any nap under an hour. This can be as little as 10 minutes, or the full 60. Short naps are easier to take while in locations such as your workplace, where you might not have the time or means to just run home on your lunch break and take a quick 20 minute nap. Short naps have three main classifications:
This nap is commonly referred to as the “power nap.” A power nap is fairly convenient to do, and is the ideal nap for a quick burst of energy and alertness. This nap is effective due to not fully reaching the deeper stages of sleep, making it easier to wake up and hit the ground running. A power nap is obviously not going to be a big help to you if you’ve been up all night, but it is certainly an easy way to give yourself a boost in a short amount of time.
This nap length gives you some added sleep time, but also puts you at the risk of sleep inertia, which is a hangover-like feeling that results from waking up in deeper stages of sleep. You might have some added benefits you realize later on in the day, but waking up will definitely be more difficult.
Napping for a full hour can give you noticeable improvement with more mental-centered tasks such as remembering facts, names, and faces. 60 minutes of sleep takes you through slow wave sleep, which is very deep. This nap length does possess a risk for grogginess as well, so keep that in mind.
Long naps are considered to be any sleep length beyond 60 minutes. The optimal length or interval for a long nap is right at 90 minutes. Sleeping for an hour and a half allows your body to go through all the sleep cycles, including REM sleep, which is the deepest state of sleep that often involves dreams.
A nap for this length provides substantial improvement in emotional and procedural memory, and can also improve motor skills. Sleeping through all the sleep stages also makes it easier to wake up, and less grogginess overall. If you have the time for it, a long nap can definitely be your biggest advantage. Be sure to keep your long naps in intervals of 90 minutes for maximum effect.
So Which is Better?
There’s really no right or wrong answer to this, it’s really more based around what you are needing, and how much time you have to nap. A quick 10-20 minute nap on your lunch break can do wonders for improving your energy and alertness through the rest of the day. If you didn’t get much sleep the night before, and might have to be up late the following night, a 90 minute nap could provide you with a reset so to speak, along with enough rest and rejuvenation to take on whatever you have left to do that night.
If you can, try experimenting with these lengths to see what works best for you. If your napping is occurring during the day time, be sure to take the same standard measures you’d take to get sound sleep at night, such as blocking out outside light and keeping the television off.
Better Napping with a Better Mattress
Napping in your own bed is obviously the best choice. If you have an old, uncomfortable, or worn mattress however, napping isn’t going to fix the problem – you’ll still be dealing with aches and pains, along with general tiredness that results from a bad mattress. If you are in need of a new mattress, be sure to visit your local DC mattress store to browse a large selection of brands and styles to find the one that is just right for you. If you have any additional questions, please call or contact Tier4 Mattress online.