How long should a nap be is something I really wanted to find out. There are days when I work from home and writing all day can be very tiring. Especially when after a weekend I have been able to lie in. There are times when no amount of coffee is going to keep me awake. I could put my head down on the desk and be ready to doze off. However I just couldn’t decide if it would make it feel better or worse! So I set myself a challenge of finding out how long should a nap be?
I have talked at great length about how to improve your sleep. I love sleep and appreciate that during sleep my body and heal itself and it allows my brain to make sense of what has gone on during the day. However not getting a good night’s sleep may have me feeling like one of those zombies of the Walking Dead!
I have read that there are a lot of benefits which are scientifically prove to have a positive effect if you take a nap. I can remember being on holiday in America when I was younger and the whole household went for an afternoon nap. I found it strange but I woke up so much more refreshed and ready to face the rest of the day.
So how long should a nap be? Well the evidence suggests that a nap is just that – it isn’t a full on slumber! There are a few suggestions on the best time to take a nap and the optimum length of your nap so that you wake up feeling energized and not groggy which can be the case if you sleep too long! I have done this a few times and I really should have known better, I felt so much worse for it. But I have learned from that which is why I wanted to share the answer I came up with to the question “How long should I nap for?”
Don’t nap if you have insomnia
If you suffer from insomnia then taking a nap is counter productive as it most certainly will stop you sleeping at night. For those who suffer from insomnia the advice is to avoid naps!
How long to nap for?
Evidence suggests the optimal length of a nap should be from 30 minutes to 90 minutes maximum. If it’s just a power nap then stick to the 30 minutes. Taking just 30 minutes will ensure you don’t enter deep sleep. A bit like when your phone runs out of charge – a quick burst and you can keep going until bedtime.
You can take a longer nap
If you do have time then taking a nap for 90 minutes will give you a full cycle of nap time. This will allow you to enter REM sleep and will indeed have you waking up feeling energized and totally refreshed. It can be difficult getting 90 minutes sleep though as most of us are so busy.
Get some fresh air
:My period of when I really needs a nap is around one and 3pm. Maybe it’s just after lunch. In any case evidence suggests that getting out in the fresh air and the sun (f there’s any about!) this will help your body to stop the production of melatonin which makes you feel sleepy. This is a great idea if you do suffer from insomnia as the fresh air will help you sleep in the evening. Above all the fresh air will help you feel wide awake and ready to take on the rest of the day full charged.
Don’t nap after 4pm
Napping in the afternoon is much better before 4pm. The issue with sleeping after this time is that it can interfere with your sleep schedule and you may be lying awake at night time tossing and turning. So napping anytime before 4pm is a better idea.
How Long Should I Nap?
Everyone is different. Most people can keep going and don’t need a nap in the afternoon while some people do. Of course if you work all day there is little chance of getting a nap but if you work from home or are at home having a nap around 2pm will probably be best so you waken up refreshed.
Evidence suggests that take around 30 minutes is the right amount of time for nap and as I suggested above if you get 90 minutes that’s ok too. The reason 90 minutes is suggested is because that is the length of time for one full sleep cycle. Remember thought to set your alarm!
Do Naps Help?
Feeling refreshed and being able to take forty winks during the day certainly helps with productivity. Below I have listed some of the ways in which take a nap helps you:
- Having a nap can improve your health.
- Taking a nap will help you feel refreshed and increase productivity.
- Taking a nap helps your alertness, and increases your energy levels.
- A nap can keep you feeling young!
How Long Should You Nap by Age
Below I have listed the how long should you nap by age to help you no mater what stage you are:
- Babies: From 0 to 3 months can be dozing for 16 to 17 hours a day. When they are one they still doze during the day but it reduces to 3 to 4 hours each time.
- Toddlers: Toddlers best time is in the afternoon and an hour nap time is enough for this age range.
- Preschoolers are the same as toddlers, they may need an hour’s nap in the afternoon.
- Teens: they don’t often admit to needing an nap but during school holidays a nap of 30 minutes will do them the world of good.
- Adults: We each differ but 30 to 90 minutes is best.
- 60 plus: Sixty minutes works for this age range and the best time to nap is the afternoon..
Naps can be of great for people as long as you know how long you should nap for and the best time to nap.