When it comes to napping, many people think ‘the longer, the better’. But is that true? If you have a long nap and still wake up feeling hazy and unrefreshed, it’s probably because you woke up in the middle of a sleep cycle. If you don’t know how the sleep cycle works, we recommend that you check our blog here so you can start understanding sleep better. Once you do – the quality and quantity of sleep that you get may improve.
Duration doesn’t matter, sleep cycles do
So, why would waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle make you feel groggy? Naps shouldn’t be based on length, more so how much of a sleep cycle you can complete. As mentioned in the sleep cycle blog, one full cycle lasts 90 minutes. The last two stages are where you’re going to be in your deepest sleep. So when you’re approaching the 30-40 minute mark in your nap, you’ll be approaching these deep phases.
If you’re awoken from your nap at this point, you’ll most likely feel weary. This is because your brain waves slow down as it prepares you for an even deeper sleep. You’re supposed to be fairly hard to wake up at this point, so if you force yourself to get up from a nap at that time, you’ll certainly feel like you’ve had disturbed sleep.
Is a short nap effective?
This may not be music to your ears, as a shorter nap sounds unsatisfying, and one that’s longer could be too time-consuming. However, shorter naps can actually be pretty beneficial and can help you feel more awake. A 20-25 minute nap means you won’t reach deep sleep but you’ll still experience the benefits of sleeping: increased alertness, performance and you may even have a better mood!
What’s the ideal length of a nap?
So, what’s the ideal length of a nap? Well, it depends how much time you’ve got! If you’re constrained by time but are feeling drowsy, a 20-25 minute nap may help you with that extra energy boost. If you’ve got a little while longer, you can go ahead and complete a full sleep cycle for 90 minutes. If you feel like you need an even longer nap, one that’s just short of two hours is ideal. Here, you can complete a full sleep cycle and half of another, all without entering the two last stages of deep sleep again.
Ideally, naps should be avoided after 4PM so you don’t lower your chances of being able to go to sleep at night. Did you know it was so complex getting a refreshing nap? For those avid nappers out there, these tips could really benefit your napping technique! Do you have any other tips on how to get a revitalising nap? If so, let us know in the comments below…
If you’re feeling the need to nap more than usual, maybe your sleeping solution isn’t giving you the quality sleep you need. Check out our website where we could help you get sumptuous sleep in no time…