How Long To Nap In Order To Feel Your Best Afterwards

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There’s nothing like having a little cat nap on a rainy day or when you’re feeling overtired. But have you ever lied down to nap, only to awaken six hours later and completely mess up your regular sleeping pattern? Sometimes napping for too long can even make you feel more tired. Napping is basically a science, and we’re about to let you know how long to nap in order to feel your best when you wake up.

According to Women’s Health, midday naps can reduce drowsiness while improving performance, productivity, creativity, memory, and mood. They even have the potential to boost your immune system and lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Philip Gehrman, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, reveals that for a quick pick-me-up, a nap lasting between 15 and 30 minutes can promote alertness. However, a 90-minute nap is generally the ideal time period for napping.

Sara Mednick, associate professor at the University of California at Irvine, explains, “A 90-minute nap can help you decompress and get creative juices flowing because it covers a full sleep cycle, taking you from the lightest to deepest stages of sleep and back so you wake up refreshed.” However, waking up when you’re in the deepest stage of sleep can cause you to feel groggy and irritated. So set an alarm, and plan an activity for after your nap so that you actually get up.

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Other napping tips from the experts? Try to plan your naps around the same time each day, as this will train your body to fall asleep more quickly. Hit the gym after your nap as opposed to before, as exercise stimulates the brain and can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Choose a comfortable spot to nap, and never force yourself to nap if it’s just not going to happen. Some people are just not nappers, no matter how hard they try.

Now that you know these tips from the pros, hopefully your naps will be that much more productive. Sweet dreams!