How Long To Nap For The Biggest Brain Benefits
Taking a nap, we’ve seen time and again, is like rebooting your brain. Everyone likes to get a quick nap in every now and then, 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.
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.
“If you take it longer than 30 minutes, you end up in deep sleep. Have you ever taken a nap and felt worse when you woke up? That’s what’s happening — you’re sleeping too long and you’re going into a stage of sleep that’s very difficult to get out of.” – Dr. Michael Breus
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 fact, a study published in PubMed in 2002 found that napping even for 5-10 minutes creates a heightened sense of alertness and increased cognitive ability in comparison to no nap. So really, you want to be taking a 10-20 minute nap for a quick recharge, or a 60-90 minute nap for a deep sleep rejuvenation.
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.
Posted on January 1, 2015, in ARTICLES and tagged benefits, biggest, brain, brain benefits, brains, deep sleep, dr mednick, durations, for, happening, how, how long, information, knowledge, long, memory, mind, minutes, nap, perfect nap, planning, power, power nap, processing, read, soul, the, time, woke. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.