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Best Nap Length: How Long Should You Nap?

Napping is a common habit in adults and children; you can take a quick nap to rejuvenate and make your day more productive. But did you know that your nap length can impact the amount of freshness you get? Well! According to science, nap length has many impacts on your overall freshness, sleep cycle, and sleep quality. In this blog, let us understand the best nap length, types of nap length, and the impacts it has on your life.

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Best Nap Length

You might be wondering how Long Should I nap? Well, there is no thumb rule for the best nap length. But yes, timing plays a significant role; a very short nap or a very long nap can make you feel tired or fresh at the same time. A short rest of 10-20 minutes allows you to keep your eyes closed and get the reviving benefits of napping. Thirty minutes could make you feel too tired once you are awake. A 90-minute nap is best if you want a long rest.

Different Types of Naps

There are various categories of naps depending on the function they serve.

1. Recovery Nap

Stayed up late for work or didn’t sleep the whole night? You can take a recovery nap the following day to compensate for sleep loss.

2. Prophylactic Nap

Prophylactic nap refers to a rest taken before an event or a working shift to prepare for sleep loss.

3. Appetitive Nap

Appetitive naps refer to naps for the enjoyment of napping. Appetitive naps are rejuvenating and improve your mood and energy considerably.

4. Fulfillment Nap

It is a well-known fact that children sleep much more than adults do. Fulfillment naps refer to naps taken by infants and toddlers during the daytime. There is no particular time for this nap, and it can occur instantaneously in kids of any age.

5. Essential Nap

Essential nap refers to naps taken in the event of sickness or any other casualty. When you are sick, your immune system tries to fight infection or recovery, which requires extra energy. 

Check out our detailed blog on Facts about napping to get insights on different napping techniques and whether these are suitable for you or not.

Types of Nap Lengths

You might have understood the various types of naps; let us now understand the different nap lengths.

Middle aged man goes into nap on table while reading newspaper

10 to 20 – Minute Nap:

According to studies, 10 to 20 minutes is the perfect nap length. It is known as a “Power nap.” If your sleep lasts less than 20 minutes, you are still in the first stage of your sleep. 

A power nap allows you to be aware of what is going on in your surroundings. This type of nap makes you feel fresh and not tired. It is also the best nap length for headaches.

Check out our blog on Power Nap at Night to understand the best length of time for a power nap.

30 – Minute Nap

A 30-minute nap is also known as a Groggy nap. napping for longer than 20 to 30 minutes allows you to enter stage 2 of sleep. Stage 2 of the sleep cycle reduces the impacts of surroundings in the brain. It disconnects you from your surroundings, helping you get a deep sleep. If you wake up in the middle of a 30-minute nap, you feel mental and physical tiredness, lethargy, and disorientation.

60 – Minute Nap:

60- Minute nap is also known as a long nap. You enter stage 3 in a 60-minute nap. In stage 3 sleep, memories and impressions merge, and pertinent information moves to the brain’s long-term memory storage- Neocortex.

90 – 120 Minute Nap

90 to 120-minute nap is also known as REM nap. In this nap, you get the REM sleep and complete the sleep cycle. This type of nap is ideal if you are facing sleep deprivation. The REM sleep cycle gives you all the benefits of complete sleep without any tiredness. It is the best nap length for all-nighters.

Are Naps Good for You? – Benefits of Napping 

By now you might have understood the various types of naps, their impacts on your sleep and daily routine. Let us now understand the benefits of napping.

Increase Alertness

According to recent research, people who woke up after a nap showed more alertness than those who sipped a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Besides alertness, it also rejuvenates you throughout the day to increase your learning capacity.

Reduce Stress

According to research, 33% of American adults do not get regular sound sleep. The biggest impact of lack of sleep is stress. Constant stress and tension can lead to countless health issues, like anxiety, depression, and heart disease. A sufficient nap time would reduce the stress levels considerably and compensate for your sleep loss.

Improved Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills refer to the ability of the brain to acquire new knowledge, process information accurately. Squeezing a quick nap in your daily schedule improves the sharpness of your brain, improves the focus and the ability of your brain to store more information.

According to research conducted by NASA on military pilots and astronauts, napping improved the overall performance by 34%.

Reduce Stress

According to studies, apart from freshness, napping improves your mood significantly. Apart from rejuvenating you, napping also increases frustration tolerance, increase calmness, and increases productivity.

Check out our blog on Deep Sleep Techniques to understand how to deep sleep better.

How to Nap Properly

You might now be excited about your next nap. But before turning your head towards your bed, here are some tips to make your nap the best nap.

A young man disturbed by alarm clock while napping

Short and Sweet

The idea of a longer nap is attractive, but we recommend going with either a 20-minute nap or a 90-minute nap in case you are feeling tired. Shorter naps like power naps are the best nap lengths for focus and also help you with the desired freshness your brain requires.

Set up an Alarm

For beginners who are not used to take short naps, setting the alarm for your naps is a must. It ensures that you stay within the recommended nap lengths.

Prefer Early Afternoon Naps

Taking naps after 3 p.m. can affect your sleep schedule. Try taking naps in the early afternoon between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Comfortable Environment

Picking a comfortable environment for napping is the most significant part of your nap. There is no point in taking a nap if you cannot fall asleep. Try to sleep in dim lights in a well-ventilated room with a comfortable blanket over a suitable mattress.

Check out our blog onHow to fix the Sleep Schedule to get some handy tips while fixing your sleep schedule.

Napping vs. Sleeping – Know the Differences

How many times have you turned your short nap into a never-ending sleep? There are huge differences between sleep and a nap.

The most significant differences between napping and sleeping are the duration and sleep cycles. During sleep, your brain moves through all four sleep cycles. Your brain moves through each sleep cycle sequentially, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM cycles.

The goal of a nap is to re-energize your mind and body to increase productivity. Perfect nap length makes sure that you do not enter the deep sleep or the REM cycles but only stay in light sleep cycles. So, 10-20 minute naps are perfect.

Sleep on the other hand includes the deep sleep and REM sleep stages to provide you the necessary revival.

Check out our blog on Sleep Cycles to understand the sleep expert’s view on different sleep cycles.

Best Nap Length for Adults

According to studies, the best length for a nap for adults is 10- 20 minutes and 90 minutes. 10 to 20 minutes is the perfect nap length. It is known as a “Power nap.” If your sleep lasts less than 20 minutes, you are still in the first stage of your sleep. 

A power nap allows you to be aware of what is going on in your surroundings. This type of nap makes you feel fresh and not tired.

90 minutes nap is also known as a REM nap. In this nap, you get the REM sleep and complete the sleep cycle. This type of nap is ideal if you are facing sleep deprivation. The REM sleep cycle gives you all the benefits of complete sleep without any tiredness.

Check out our blog Is 6 Hours of Sleep Enough to understand whether you are getting enough sleep or not.

Best Nap Length for a Child

A cute little baby boy in light blue pajamas napping peacefully on bed

Napping is a biological need in children, especially during their childhood and infancy. naps provide them the essential recharge they need to cope up with their growth rate. The best nap length for kids is different for the different age groups. Let us have a look at the best nap lengths one by one.

  • For infants(4-12months): Infants need around 2-4 naps per day. The length of these naps can range between 30 minutes to two hours at a time.
  • Toddlers(1-3 years): Toddlers need up to 2 naps per day; it changes to 1 nap per day as they hit the 2-year mark. Toddlers nap mostly in the afternoon, and the length of the nap should be anywhere between 30- minutes to one and half hours. 
  • Preschoolers(3-5 years): Preschoolers take a single nap per day or stop napping. The best nap length for preschoolers is around 30 minutes to two hours in the early afternoon. Parents should prioritize nighttime sleep for children in this age group.

The Final Word

Let’s be honest, napping is not everyone’s cup of tea. Also, we need an 8 hour of sound sleep to get all the restorative benefits of sleep. Taking a nap after an 8-hour sleep can negatively impact your health. 

We recommend taking a nap only when you are trying to compensate for a poor night’s sleep. While taking a nap make sure it is not more than 20 minutes, and be careful that you are napping before 3 p.m.

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FAQs

Are daily naps healthy?

According to a recent study, napping two or three times a week might be healthy. Although daily napping is a sign of inadequate night sleep and might be unhealthy.

Why do I feel tired after a nap?

If you take a 30-minute nap, and you feel tired, it means that your body needs to complete the full sleep cycle. This tiring feeling is known as sleep inertia.

What is the best time of day to nap?

According to experts, napping in the early afternoon between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. is the best.

Are naps bad for your heart?

According to research, napping for more than 60 minutes increases the risk of heart disease.

What is the best nap length when you are sleep-deprived?

A 90-120 minutes nap is the best when you are sleep-deprived.