How to Nap for Increased Energy and Productivity

14th Jun 2022

How to Nap for Increased Energy and Productivity

What are the Benefits of Napping?

When you nap, you allow your brain and body to rest and rejuvenate. While it may seem counterintuitive to spend your free time resting, it is actually one of the best things you can do to improve your productivity.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, taking a nap during the day can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Improve mood and energy
  • Help prepare you for a late night/early morning
  • Reduce daytime sleepiness
  • Boost learning and performance
  • Improve alertness and reaction times
  • Help memory

Researchers conclude that naps aren’t for everyone. If you feel napping increases your daytime drowsiness rather than improving your energy, skip the daytime snooze.

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How Long Should a Nap Be?

The length of your nap is one of the most important factors in determining how you feel when you wake up. Most of us have woken up from a nap feeling groggy and even more sleepy than when we went to rest. This is usually a result of how long you sleep. Sleep researchers conclude that there are two optimal nap lengths:

  1. Sleeping for 10 to 30 minutes during the day is widely regarded as the best amount of time to nap. These “power naps” are beneficial because you aren’t asleep for long enough to enter really deep stages of sleep. This way, you wake up feeling refreshed as opposed to drowsy and groggy.
  2. For a longer option, a 90 minute nap is also beneficial. 90 minutes is about the amount of time it takes to cycle through one full sleep cycle of each sleep stage. After this amount of time, you’ll have entered the deep sleep stages and then re-entered the light sleep stages, where it is easier to wake up feeling refreshed. Again, the idea is to avoid waking up during the deep sleep stages.

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What Time During the Day Should you Nap?

The other big factor in avoiding post-nap fatigue is the time of day you choose to nap. As a general rule, you shouldn’t nap after 3:00 pm as it might disrupt your sleep schedule. Sara Mednick, a nap researcher and author of Take a nap, Change your Life states, “Prime napping time falls between 1 and 3 pm”. This is usually the time our bodies crave some rest during the 24 hour circadian rhythm.

Conclusion

In sum, power napping in the early afternoon is one way to boost your energy and mood when you hit that midday slump. While science backs this idea, napping isn’t for everybody. Some people find the drowsiness when they wake up from a nap to be difficult to overcome. Either way, the body responds well to routine, so consider taking a nap around the same time each day for a week to give it a shot and see if you notice a difference in your alertness, memory, mood, and energy!

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