What Is The Optimum Time And Length For A Nap?

Napping is arguably our favourite pastime, but how long and when should we be catching some z's to make the most of our nap? Afternoon or early evening? A quick 10 minutes or an hour?

A number of studies have already proved that napping is good for us, just like this one which found a nap to be as effective as drugs when it comes to lowering blood pressure.

So, let's start with how long we should be napping for. While there's no definitive rule on how long we should be nodding off for, the majority of researchers believe longer isn't always better.

Credit: Pexels
Credit: Pexels

According to Dominique Antiglio, Sophrologist and author of The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology, 20 minutes is the perfect nap length.

Sleep expert Dominique told Pretty52: "Keep it to a power nap of 20 minutes so your body doesn't feel like it has been deprived of sleep and so it doesn't affect your rhythm for the evening (there's a difference between a nap and sleep).

"You should wake up feeling refreshed, alert and re-energised after 20 minutes!"

Other sleep experts agree that naps should be kept to around 20 minutes. Aneesa Das, MD, a sleep medicine specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said: "Your nap should be 20-30 minutes. That way, you'll be re-energized without affecting your nighttime sleep."

However, if you do want to take a longer nap you need to ensure you get through an entire sleep cycle to make sure you don't wake up feeling super groggy.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

"A 90-minute nap can help you decompress and get creative juices flowing, because it covers a full sleep cycle, taking you from the lightest to deepest stages of sleep and back so you wake up refreshed," Sara Mednick, an associate professor at the University of California at Irvin recently told Women's Health.

So, it seems like 20 minutes is the perfect pick-me-up, whereas 90 minutes allows you to make it through all the stages of sleep and allows you to wake up fully refreshed.

When it comes to when you should be napping, a recent study found that snoozing at midday can help lower your blood pressure.

According to the research, an hour's sleep at midday reduces blood pressure by an average of five points which is similar to the effects of taking drugs or cutting salt from your diet.

Researchers also claimed the daytime snooze could also majorly reduce our chances of having a heart attack.

However, Dominique believes timings depend entirely on each person's circadian rhythm, although it's often around lunchtime or mid-afternoon.

She explains: "Nap times should vary for each person according to their own circadian rhythm, and your body will show signs such as heavy eyes, a tired or sluggish body, frequent yawning - so you just need to look for them as a precursor to a nap."

Needless to say, a 20 minute-long nap on your lunch break sounds good to us!

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Rachel Andrews

Rachel Andrews is an NCTJ trained Journalist at PRETTY52. She specialises in Fashion and Beauty Journalism, and has experience at a range of online and print publications and joined the team in 2017. Contact her - rachel.andrews@pretty52.com

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