Sleep studies have shown that naps are great in reducing sleepiness and stress, improving memory and performance, lifting your mood, and boosting alertness. Yet, napping is not for everyone as some may find napping detrimental and disadvantageous instead. Those with trouble falling asleep at night may find napping disruptive as it interferes with their sleep schedule at night. Furthermore, some may experience sleep inertia which causes one to feel disorientated after a nap, overall reducing their productivity, especially if they are required to get back to work instantly after the nap.
However, the effectiveness of naps can be maximized, and these problems could be easily avoided if one takes an ideal nap that is best suited for them.
So how should we optimize the effectiveness of our naps?
First, we need to know the different types of naps and their varying purposes.
10-20 Minutes Power Nap
When you are feeling exhausted mid-day, a short power nap would be great to rejuvenate you. It will reduce stress, increase efficiency, and improve overall health. This is the best nap to take if you need a quick jolt of alertness in the middle of the day to reduce fatigue and sharpen your motor skills.
30 Minutes Groggy Nap
Avoid taking 30-minute naps! There are hardly any benefits as it will cause sleep inertia, a groggy state that will consume you after your nap. As your body is forced to wake up right at the start and before completing deeper stages of sleep, you might end up feeling more tired then energized after a 30-minute nap!
60 Minutes Short Term Nap
A 60-minute nap has the ability to improve our learning and memory. With this duration, our brain waves will slow down as we start to enter our deep sleep cycle. However, one might feel a slight sleep inertia when taking a 60-minute nap too.
90 Minutes REM Nap
A 90-minute nap involves a full cycle of sleep, including the REM sleep stage. It is powerful as it promotes creativity, emotional and procedural memory. In addition, taking a 90-minute nap would avert sleep inertia, allowing one to wake up much more easily without experiencing intense grogginess.
To get the most effective nap, do set an alarm such that your nap is of the most optimal amount of time. Also, in order to prevent difficulties in sleeping at night, try not to nap at a late timing. The best timing to nap will be preferably from 1pm-4pm. However, these timings may vary from person to person, thus it is best to know your own body and what timings suit you best, adjusting it accordingly.