How Long Should You Nap?

How Long Should You Nap?

How Long Should You Nap? 

Naps are in style, and for good reasons that we're about to discuss, but how long should you nap? We've all heard the old, just resting my eyes routine. We know what's up. You're napping, and that's ok. In fact, naps are good for you.

Before we look at how long you should nap, let's talk about why you should take a nap during the day. There are numerous benefits of napping. Taking a nap is linked to several different health benefits for the body and the mind. Napping is known for improving focus, memory, learning, and retention of new information. Having an increased learning ability is one benefit of naps that is supported by multiple scientific research studies.

One study, published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, showed that napping during the day improves how well we learn new information. Their research showed that slow-wave brain activity, which can take place during naps, enhances our  "capacity for encoding of declarative materials". That's science language for, naps help us learn and retain the  information we can speak about later.

This same kind of scientific evidence for the benefits of naps for learning new information to speak about was found to work for humans of all ages. A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research looked at infants learning new words. They found that napping improved the ability to learn new words in infants, suggesting the benefits of naps start shortly after we are  born.

In addition to improved learning and memory retention, naps are also shown to be healthy for your heart and the rest of your body by lowering your blood pressure. That's right, sleeping during the day was found to be just as effective at lowering blood pressure as taking some blood pressure medications. At least that's what the experts at the American College of Cardiology have to say about the benefits of napping for heart health.

We're getting closer to talking about how long naps should be, but there are so many benefits of napping that we had to include at least one more, which is improving moods.

Research on napping and mood shows us that getting some extra sleep during the day can improve our mood by reducing frustrations and impulsive behavior. I guess that means naps could be the fix for a bad mood, so the next time you're feeling moody, you could benefit from taking a nap.

The question is, how long should you nap to get the best health benefits of a midday snooze? The Mayo Clinic has a lot of great information about how long you should be napping. They recommend taking a power nap during the day if you aren't able to nap for a full sleep cycle. A full sleep cycle takes about 90 minutes, whereas a power nap only lasts about 15 to 20 minutes. Power naps are great for getting a boost of body and brain power.

If you sleep longer than 30 minutes, but not longer than 90 minutes, you'll wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle which can make you feel more tired than when you lied down. For this reason, naps are recommended to be kept short, between 15 and 30 minutes. That is unless you have time to take a full 90-minute nap to get in a full cycle of sleep. The next time you need a nap during the day, set an alarm for 30 minutes to keep you in the sweet spot of napping benefits, without waking up and feeling groggy.

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