A nap can help you if you don't get enough sleep. Credit: PixelsA nap can help you if you don't get enough sleep. Credit: Pixels

A nap is a short period of sleep that usually occurs during the day. For many adults, naps can help to maintain alertness or overcome daytime fatigue.

Nap needs and the benefits of napping can vary among individuals. Knowing the facts about napping can help determine whether to take naps, and tips for better naps can enable healthier napping habits.

The Benefits of Taking a Nap

Naps can deliver a number of benefits. Brief naps can be restorative and reduce fatigue during the day. After a night of insufficient sleep, a nap may counteract daytime drowsiness. Nap can be particularly beneficial for shift workers who struggle to get enough sleep and have to be alert at irregular times.

A short daytime snooze may also boost workplace performance.​​ A nap can improve cognitive functions such as memory, logical reasoning, and the ability to complete complex tasks.

A nap is important for health. Credit: Pixels
A nap is important for health. Credit: Pixels

Some studies have found that physical performance can also improve after napping. Athletes may experience improved endurance, reaction times, and cognitive performance if they take a daytime nap.

How Long Should You Nap?

Researchers say a 20-minute nap is the best length. A short nap like this allows your mind and body to rest without entering the deeper stages of sleep. If you have time and a need for a longer nap, napping for 60 to 90 minutes is enough time to have deep, slow-wave sleep, but end up in the lighter stages of sleep so you feel alert when you awake.

Medium-length naps of around 45 minutes can be problematic because you will likely wake up during slow-wave sleep, the deepest stage, which can leave you with that groggy feeling—called sleep inertia—when you wake up.

But a short nap still has benefits! Scientists have found that when people napped around 30 minutes, they had better memory recall and superior overall cognition than both non-nappers and those who napped longer.

What benefit a nap give you. Credit: Pixels
What benefit a nap give you. Credit: Pixels

You may be familiar with the term “power nap.” How long is a power nap? Power naps taken in the early afternoon usually last 15 to 20 minutes and can restore and refresh you when experiencing a natural decline in energy and wakefulness. NASA tested the effects of power napping on astronauts and found it had an effective boost to performance and alertness.

Are Naps Good for You?

Naps are good for both children and adults. Many studies point out nap time reduces daytime sleepiness, as well as boosts learning and performance. For shift workers, naps can improve alertness and reaction times.

Why you should take a nap. Credit: Pixels
Why you should take a nap. Credit: Pixels

And we know babies, toddlers, and young children benefit from naps in numerous ways. They help meet a child’s daily sleep requirement of 9-17 hours of sleep depending on age, improve their behavior and emotional self-regulation, and aid their memory and language learning.


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By Aussa

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