What's The Perfect Nap Length?


It's well-known that the majority of adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but with school, work, kids, or social activities, it can become hard to get a good night's sleep. The solution? Naps.

There are four main stages of your sleep cycle with the first two being relatively light sleep and the following two bringing you into a deeper slumber. You might know the last stage as Rapid Eye Movement (REM for short), where you experience dreams.

But not all naps are created equal. The benefits of napping are tied to the length of time in which you are asleep. So if you're looking for a quick pick-me-up aim for 30 minutes. Awaking after the first two stages of sleep allows enough time for your brain to relax, giving you a boost in productivity, memory, creativity, and overall energy. One study found that frequent nappers show greater improvements in work performance after taking a midday nap than those who don't.

For those who claim that naps don't work for them, it's likely that they took too long of a nap. If you nap any longer than 30 minutes your brain will enter the third stage of sleep, which is known as sleep inertia. Because your body is coming out of deep sleep, your motor dexterity is decreased and you start to feel even more groggy than you were before resting.

What's interesting, is that due to the physiological and psychological benefits of naps, many cultures around the world are adapting to make it commonplace in their day-to-day lives. Japan, for example, has opened 'nap salons' to provide public spaces for people to rejuvenate.

So next time you find yourself feeling sleepy throughout the day, take a quick 30-minute nap. You can tell your boss it's because "science says so."

Mitch Moffit