The 2 Most Important Factors to Consider When Napping

Often times people think that napping is something that is only done by the very young and the very old.

I feel sorry for those of you who are in this mindset as you are missing out. A nap can be a great re-charge to heal the body, spark some creativity or actually get more done even with the time out for the nap. Napping really is a simple thing to do, but there are two important factors that come into play before your head hits the pillow.

Length of the Nap

I feel that there are three options here, but only two are going to be beneficial.

The Power Nap: This is still the classic sub-20 minute nap that has been shown to improve learning and restore wakefulness. I love it to let my mind shut off when I am doing a lot of writing or reading. When I come back I am able to jump right in where I left off with voracity.

The Groggy Nap: Here is the not so sweet spot of napping. It occurs between 30-90 minutes of sleep when your body gets into stage 3 and 4 of sleep. These are deeper sleep stages which can be why it is difficult to regain alertness.

The Full Cycle Nap: This is the big boy. You pass out for 90-110 minutes to complete a full sleep cycle of all four non-REM and one REM stage. Highly restorative and can help you make up some sleep debt if you do not get enough at night.

Time of the Nap

You finally have the time to take a quick nap during the day, but don’t want it to screw up your sleep at night. Have no fear, there are optimal times to nap to avoid this mistake. These recommendations are based on some research and tinkering, but still find your best time. It seems that for morning naps 10am-12pm is good and 2pm-4pm for your afternoon rest. I am not a fan of the tail end of the afternoon naps as I see them mess with falling asleep at night more in my. I feel that power naps generally work better here depending on your sensitivity.

If you find that naps just aren’t cutting it though, be sure to look at the sleep you are getting at night time. Check out the other blogs I did on sleep. They can make sure that you are getting enough and making the most of what you did get to help your body function optimally.

Have a Great Day!

Nick Horowski