woman taking a nap on couchMost people enjoy a good nap when they’re tired. Some of us even work it in to our schedules on a daily basis so that we can be more productive. The question remains, what is the ideal nap time length?

There are 3 different types of naps – planned, habitual and emergency naps.

  • Planned – taking a preventative nap before you actually become tired, for example if you know you will be up past your normal bedtime.
  • Emergency – when you become extremely tired and cannot function, as many drivers do when they must pull off the road and nap before continuing to drive.
  • Habitual – taking a planned nap at the same time every day, for those of us who take a quick power nap after lunch every day at the same time.

If you’ve ever wondered what the ideal nap time length is, take a minute to read over the following pointers and suggestions.

  • 10-20 Minutes
    Otherwise known as the “power nap”, this ideal nap time length is for gaining an energy boost and becoming more alert. Because of the quick length of time, you will not enter into a cycle of REM sleep, making it much easier to wake back up afterwards and get back to your day. Many people like to take a power nap after lunch, before they start on their workload for the afternoon. Otherwise, you might end up consuming more coffee than you really need, creating difficulty when trying to go to bed later that night.
  • 30 Minutes
    If you opt for something a little longer than the traditional power nap, you may end up feeling groggy, almost defeating the purpose of the nap in the first place. This feeling usually lasts for about 30 minutes after waking, before the restorative benefits really come into play.
  • 60 Minutes
    For those of us lucky enough to have an hour to nap, you can enter into the deepest type of sleep here – the slow-wave sleep. While you may experience some grogginess when you initially wake up, taking an hour nap has proven to be beneficial in terms of memory improvement.
  • 90 Minutes
    This long of a nap is considered a full cycle of sleep, including the light and deep sleep, and REM sleep. It is very likely that you will start dreaming in this length of sleep cycle. Waking up after this is usually much easier than during the 30 or 60 minute naps. Studies have shown that these longer naps lead to heightened creativity and improved emotional and procedural memory.

A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.

In addition to enhancing performance, increasing alertness and reducing accidents, there are psychological benefits as well. A nap can be treated as almost a mini-vacation for your mind. It provides a time of relaxation and rejuvenation and can ultimately decrease the daily stressors in your life.

If you feel that you may be suffering from a more serious sleep disorder, and your daily naps jut aren’t cutting it, please contact our office at (586) 573-0438 or feel free to visit our website to read more about sleep disorders.