What is the optimal nap time and duration?

October 9, 2020 3 mins read
What is the optimal nap time and duration?

Is there such a thing as an optimal nap time? For many of us, the perfect nap time is after lunch, during that post-meal haze. For others, it’s whenever sleepiness strikes. But when is the best time to nod off for a revitalising snooze? If there is an optimal nap time that could contribute to us performing at our best, then we’re all for it. Let’s explore.

Types of naps

Just by setting aside a couple of minutes to nap, you’ll enjoy increased alertness and a brighter mood. Your immune system even gets a kickstart, so if you feel a cold coming on, schedule in a nap to help your body fight off nasty viruses and give it a chance to recover faster.

There are three types of naps that you can slot in during the day to give your body and mind a quick boost. Depending on how you feel, what time of the day it is and how much energy you want to tap into, finding the right nap is key.

Planned nap time

With this type of nap, instead of dozing off when you feel tired, you can schedule it right before you feel sleepy. It’s especially helpful if you want to stay up late. It’s also a great technique to use if you want to avoid feeling tired during a specific time of the day.

Power nap

Did you know that lightbulb inventor Thomas Edison favoured the power nap to fuel his creativity? While he preferred to nap during the day, you can enjoy a power nap anytime to boost your mental productivity.

Emergency naps

If you are busy with a physically-gruelling activity, like driving a long distance, and you feel exhausted, then this nap will relieve you and help you get back on your feet. Emergency naps are perfect for those moments when you feel like you’re too tired or sleepy to keep going.

How long is the ideal nap duration?

It depends. For adults, the recommended time is 15 to 30 minutes. Small babies and young children will spend more time asleep and take more regular naps throughout the day. This is because they are growing and need sleep for their development. Tweens, on the other hand, are likely to have planned nap times, usually in the afternoon for an hour. And teenagers, because they face longer school times, more homework, school projects and sporting activities, their naps should ideally last 30 to 60 minutes.

What is the optimal time of day for a nap?

According to Mayo Clinic, it’s best to take naps in the early afternoon or after you’ve had lunch (between 12-3pm ). Taking a nap after 3pm could make falling asleep at night a challenge, so limiting your naps to the afternoon will not interfere with your bedtime rest.

Even though grabbing a quick snooze might seem tricky because of all the activities and tasks that your day may include, you’ll be the better for it if you can follow these guidelines to choosing the optimal nap time.