How Long is the Perfect Nap?

Getting the most from your daily doze.


Health, Wellness
Taking a power nap at work.

(Roman Samborskyi /

Naps are a welcome daily ritual for many across the globe. An afternoon nap restores energy, focus, and improves mood. Sleeping for the right amount of time may help you maximize these benefits, according to the healthy living website mindfood. So how long is the perfect nap?

A restorative nap has two ideal lengths: 20 minutes and 90 minutes. If you sleep too little or too long, you may be interrupting a sleep cycle and confusing your body. To maximize your nap, set an alarm, try to fall asleep right away, and get up on cue. Here are the best recipes for a nap. 

Siesta time
Delving into the siesta tradition shows that napping in the early in the afternoon is best, reported Salon. The siesta concept may have been imported to the Americas from Spanish colonists, but its origins are Italian. 

Follow the origin of the word siesta to identify that ideal nap time. The word is from the Latin word sexta, meaning sixth hour, so six hours after sunrise is the time to take a restorative sleep 

Power nap
This nap ranges from 10 to 20 minutes, according to a blog on the Science of People. It gives you a jolt of vigor and may help decrease tired feelings.

 An ideal example of a beneficial power nap would be to doze off for 20 minutes before taking a long drive. This would give you energy, especially if you are feeling drowsy.

But, according to Healthline, If you let that 20-minute nap turn into 30 minutes, you will wake up feeling groggy and sluggish. You could even wake up feeling more tired than before you took a rest.

Short-term nap
This nap is anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes and it does incur grogginess upon awakening. However, this amount of sleep time tickles the deep sleep cycle, slowing down the brain waves. As a result, it assists with memory. 

During a longer nap such as this, memories are placed in the neocortex, the brain’s permanent storage area. This may offer an improved ability to remember places, names, faces, and facts.

A study published in Physiology & Behavior suggested that physically active men who napped from 25 to 45 minutes experienced a reduction in stress and fatigue, as well as an increase in attention

REM nap
Save this one for the weekend, unless your boss has no qualms about you stopping for an hour and a half each day! According to Healthline, you will reach a full sleep cycle complete with rapid eye movement and dreams during a 90-minute nap.

In fact, during a regular night, your body will complete five such stages of the sleep cycle a few times, according to Healthline. Each of these cycles takes from 90 to 100 minutes. Those who can benefit from an hour-long afternoon nap are older adults.

 As napping styles are personalized to people’s needs, you may need to try a few different lengths to determine your napping sweet spot. This may vary depending on how tired you feel during the day. 

Is it six hours since you woke up? Time for your nap! Try to make it short and be consistent. And if you have the luxury of time today, savor a long one. Happy napping! 

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