How Long Should You Nap For to Feel Refreshed AND Get Brain-Boosting Benefits

December 8, 2015


Whether you’re trying to get through a long day of stressful work or attempting to pull a strenuous all-nighter, taking a nap could save you from failing – or at least, the right kind of nap. Some people have told me that 20 minutes of napping is ideal while others swear that 1-hour is the perfect amount of time. But it seems as though after every nap I take, I wake up feeling groggy, moody, and even more tired than before those 60 minutes of sweet slumber.

So what’s the real, scientifically proven answer?

Here’s the deal: an average sleeping cycle lasts about 90 minutes. The keyword here is average, which means it could be less or it could last longer. Everyone is different and so you would need to figure out your personal cycle to work with, but there is a rough guideline to help you achieve that refreshing, worthwhile nap.

In general, the key is to not exceed 30 minutes. Anything longer than that and you will most likely enter deep sleep, in which case it will be more difficult for you to wake up and for your brain to start working again. The 30-minute choice is for those who just need a quick refresher and who want to wake up feeling more alert and focused. However, if you’re busy studying and need a nap that can help increase your memory capacity, then hit the couch for around 60 minutes. If you have more time then you could opt for the 90-minute option, will lead to REM sleep and complete the entire cycle, thereby allowing your brain to essentially refuel and may help with focus and boost creativity.

The trick I like to use is chugging a cool cup of coffee right before the nap. Get 20-30 minutes worth of shut-eye, after which the caffeine will start to kick in. This will not only help you wake up but will stimulate your nervous system to be more alert, awake and ready for approximately 4-5 hours worth of productivity.

The use of a sleep app/monitor could also help you achieve that feeling of rejuvenation you’ve been looking for. Sleep monitors work by tracking your movement during sleep to help recognize what cycle you’re in. The alarm will set off when you’re in the lightest stage of sleep, which will allow you to wake up with more ease and minus the grogginess. For more info about this, you can check out our review of 4 of the best and most popular sleep monitors.

Another product worth investing in if sleep is something you prioritize (which it should!) is a well-made sleep aid supplement. Try looking for products containing valerian root, GABA, chamomile or passionflower herb – these ingredients can help you fall asleep faster and will not have you wake up feeling nauseous or dizzy (unlike other prescription sleep meds). Our favorite is Luna by Lumonol, which you can learn more about here.

So what should you take home from this article?

  • An average sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes, meaning:
    Your naps should last either 30, 60 or 90 minutes depending what results you’re looking for.
    2. You should time your nighttime sleep to follow the 90-minute structure. For instance, it’s better to sleep for 7.5 hours than 8.
  • The use of sleep monitors can help you wake up during the lightest mode of sleep, which leads to a brighter, more refreshing morning.
  • The use of a healthy, natural sleep aid will not only improve the quality of your sleep but can give you that boost of energy and motivation you need come morning time.

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