At some point or another we’ve all wanted to dabble in daytime napping. Whether it’s to ease the effects of jet lag, or recover from a particularly long night out, or simply to recharge your batteries during a long day, napping is a welcome and helpful solution. However, the art of napping can be a tricky thing. Too long a nap and you’ll be tired all day, too short a nap and you won’t feel the benefits. So to achieve a nap that’s just right, here’s the guide to a great daytime doze. This guide looks at how to have the perfect daytime nap, the benefits of napping and notable nappers throughout history.

Infographic on daytime napping

The Ultimate Guide To Daytime Napping – Transcript

Studies show that up to 80% of people nap once a week, so if you want a daytime doze here’s the ultimate guide to siesta success.

How to have the perfect daytime nap

How long should I nap?

Sleep experts recommend keeping afternoon naps to fewer than 1 and a half hours to avoid interfering with night-time sleep.

·         10-20-minute nap: ideal for a quick boost in energy. Because it keeps you in the lighter stages of non-rapid eye movement sleep, it’s easy to get going afterwards.

·         30-minute nap: will satisfy fatigue, but can also lead to sleep inertia, which makes you feel groggy for roughly 30 minutes afterwards.

·         1-hour nap: best to improve your short-term memory, but involves slow-wave sleep, the deepest wave of sleep, so you’ll experience grogginess upon waking.

·         1 hour 30-minute nap:  goes through the full cycle of sleep, including the rapid eye movement stage where we dream. Leads to improved emotional memory and creativity. It usually avoids sleep inertia, so you can wake up easily.

For most people, the typical power nap of 15–30 minutes is best for a quick energy boost, while still letting you sleep at night.

What time should I nap?

Prime napping time is in the afternoon, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m, which is ideal to combat post-lunch sleepiness and avoid interfering with your night-time sleep.

The optimum nap time for you depends on when you wake up. For example, if you wake up at 6am, 1:30 might be the best time to nap. If you wake up at around 9am, your recommended nap time would be around 3pm.

What are the best conditions for a nap?

The best conditions for a snooze are where you won’t be distracted, in a quiet and dark environment. Make sure you have blinds or curtains that help to avoid the daylight peeking through and set an alarm to prevent sleeping your day away.

To boost alertness after a quick nap, sleep researchers suggest drinking coffee before a nap. Caffeine requires 20-30 minutes to take effect, so it will kick in just as you’re waking.

Napping at work

Napping on the job is often stigmatised, however maybe it shouldn’t be. 16% of American companies are actually incorporating nap facilities into the workplace. Most notably Google and their nap pods, which block both light and sound.

David Radcliffe, vice president of Google’s Real Estate & Workplace Services, says “We found that the five-minute to 15-minute power nap works on Sunday before you watch the football game, why not here at work?”

Christopher Lindholst, CEO of a company that produces nap pods says customer inquiries for purchasing the pods have increased by 186% in just the past 2 years.

The benefits of napping

Napping is often stigmatised by the judgemental folk who deem it as ‘lazy’. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 74% of women get less sleep per night than men but women feel guiltier about napping.

Psychologist dr. James B. Mass states ‘Napping should not be frowned upon. It should have the status of daily exercise.’

Regular naps come with several benefits for your health, productivity and mood:

Health

Studies show short naps combat fatigue, reduce stress and boost your immune system. Data suggests a 30-minute nap can even reverse the hormonal impact of a poor night’s sleep.

A mid-afternoon nap can reverse the negative metabolic effects of sleep loss, which would make you eat more.

Productivity

Naps improve performance, reaction time, memory and alertness.  A NASA study on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100% .

Sleep expert Sara C. Mednick even claims naps are better than coffee as a quick boost, because caffeine can decrease memory performance, making you more prone to mistakes.

Mood

Napping has psychological benefits while improving your mood, it can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation during the day.

Notable nappers

Still feeling guilty about napping? Here’s some pretty successful people who swore by a daytime doze:

·         Salvador Dali

·         Muhammad Ali

·         JD Rockefeller

·         Napoleon Bonaparte

·         Thomas Edison

·         John F Kennedy

·         Leonardo da Vinci

·         Winston Churchill

“Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one – well, at least one and a half.” – Winston Churchill

We hope this helps you to achieve the perfect nap and recharge your batteries without feeling guilty. Happy napping!

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