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Getting a good sleep is the best way to restore your energy overnight, but did you know there are plenty of health benefits of taking a nap during the day as well, especially if you know how long to nap?
Naps are characterised by their length (typically less than one hour) and time of day (usually mid-day), as well as by your intention.
So if you were wondering how long is a nap or why it can’t last longer than 1 hour, it’s because naps shouldn’t be confused with siestas (longer mid-day sleeping periods where you go into a deeper sleep stage) or with microsleeps (where you fall asleep unintentionally and unknowingly for very brief periods of time).
Why the need to nap?
Many adults experience the occassional afternoon nap, which is totally normal as long as it is not caused by some underlying medical issue. Reasons for taking a nap can vary from simply being bored to having had a heavy lunch to experiencing changes in your body temperature.
Due to your circadian rhythm, your body temperature does not stay the same throughout the day; it changes – from the lowest morning temperature to a gradual rise up until 2 p.m. when it drops again. The lower body temperature occurring between 2 and 4 p.m. triggers melatonin in the brain, which is a sleep-inducing hormone. Hence, it’s normal to feel sleepy as the day progresses.
Napping has many benefits, provided that you know how long to nap. Thus, short naps of under 1 hour can help with:
Napping in the afternoon can lower the risk of heart problems, especially in men who practice it for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week (37% risk reduction). Even napping only once in a while still triggers a 12% reduction.
-Productivity and performance
According to a 2006 study, productivity can be improved by napping regularly for 10 to 30 minutes. Similarly, to improve your performance, try taking a power nap before engaging in work-related activities that are intense or that last for a longer time.
-Preventing microsleep periods
Microsleep can be very dangerous, especially if you need to drive or fly a plane as part of your job. One way to prevent microsleep episodes is to nap intentionally in advance.
-Learning and remembering
It’s well known that sleeping at night prepares you for learning new things and for storing memories for the long run, but naps also serve for remembering what you have just learned.
This is because when you nap, you experience the same light sleep of stages 1 and 2 as when you sleep at night. That’s when learning preparation and memory formation occur, even during that short afternoon nap.
-Taking a long nap during the day means entering the deep sleep stage, which in turn translates to having a harder time falling asleep at night. To prevent this, simply keep your naps shorter. If you’re wondering how long should a nap be, the answer is 10 minutes to maximum of 1 hour.
-Longer naps on a regular basis can be dangerous for older people and for men, as highlighted by two Israeli studies from 2003 and 2005 that based their findings on hundreds of older men, and linked long naps with higher mortality rates. This does not seem to apply to women, though.
How to nap correctly
-Embrace the sleepy feeling experienced in the afternoon.
-If possible, lie down as it will help you sleep faster than sitting upright at your desk. If needed, use a sleep mask or earplugs.
-Relax with slow, deep breaths and clear your mind.
-Keep your nap short, 20 to 30 minutes. If you tend to overnap, make sure to set an alarm.
Will napping keep me up at night?
Taking a mid-day nap or drinking coffee are known to get you over that afternoon sleepiness – more so than sleeping extra at night. However, the matter of how long to nap is also connected with the timing of your nap.
Thus, the afternoon nap sets in faster and for longer periods of time as compared to the morning nap. Naps that are longer than 30 minutes not only make you feel sleepy afterwards, but they are also harder to wake up from because you will have fallen into stage 3 sleep.
So how long should I nap?
To sum up, the healthiest naps don’t last more than 1 hour per day. A power nap is 20 minutes or shorter and leaves you feeling ready for the next part of your day.
Alsoo read about CBSD Oils to improve sleep.