In our book, all naps are good, and that's the beginning and end of the story. Who knew that there are different optimal nap positions and lengths for different goals? If you are napping for a refresher, your target time should be much shorter than a nap designed to mimic a mini-version of a full night's sleep. And then there are the dreaded naps that leave you groggy and disoriented, feeling temporarily more tired than when you started. Is there such a thing as a nap to recover from a nap?
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Excerpt: "Taking a nap, we've seen time and again, is like rebooting your brain. But napping may be as much of an art as it is a science. The Wall Street Journal offers recommendations for planning your perfect nap, including how long to nap and when.3
The sleep experts in the article say a 10-to-20-minute power nap gives you the best "bang for your buck," but depending on what you want the nap to do for you, other durations might be ideal:
For a quick boost of alertness, experts say a 10-to-20-minute power nap is adequate for getting back to work in a pinch.
For cognitive memory processing, however, a 60-minute nap may do more good, Dr. Mednick said. Including slow-wave sleep helps with remembering facts, places and faces. The downside: some grogginess upon waking.
Finally, the 90-minute nap will likely involve a full cycle of sleep, which aids creativity and emotional and procedural memory, such as learning how to ride a bike. Waking up after REM sleep usually means a minimal amount of sleep inertia, Dr. Mednick said.
In addition to those recommendations, one surprising suggestion is to sit slightly upright during your nap, because it will help you avoid a deep sleep. And if you find yourself dreaming during your power naps, it may be a sign you're sleep deprived