Nap Length: Helpful and Hurtful

Proper sleep habits are such an important part of being healthy.  Not enough sleep undermines our attempts at staying healthy.  Lots of folks compensate from missed sleep by taking an afternoon nap.  But how helpful is napping?

While reading my new issue of Men’s Health recently I happened across an article on healthful sleep.  A sidebar on nap length caught my eye.  I found it so informative, and know some regular nappers, ( cough, my wife), I had to pass it along.  I’ve directly copied it below.

10 Minutes: A Quick Fix.  Napping for 10 minutes immediately wards off fatigue and boosts brainpower for at least 2 ½ hours, and Australian study found.  A 5-minute nap? No help.

20 Minutes: Delayed Benefits.  Doubling down will improve your reaction time and performance on alphanumeric tasks.  But not right away-it takes at least 35 minutes to shake off the post-nap mental fog from “taking 20”.

30 Minutes: A Healthy Boost.  You’ll feel drowsy for about 5 minutes afterward, but then more alert and mentally fit for 90 minutes. Still, a 10-minute nap is better; you avoid the hangover effect of a deeper sleep.

45-90 Minutes: No Help.  During a 45-90 minute nap, you drift into deep sleep without completing a full sleep cycle.  “You’ll often feel worse after you wake up than before,” says sleep expert Christopher Winter, M.D.

90-110 Minutes: Signs of Trouble.  The average person’s sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes, the ideal duration for a longer snooze.  But habitual long napping may be a sign of a sleep disorder, Dr Winter says.

-Laura Roberson

Source: Men’s Health Magazine. May 2011. p 100.  


4 responses to “Nap Length: Helpful and Hurtful

  1. Thanks for posting this Dan!! Very helpful and explains a lot! 🙂

  2. jane aquilino

    Good information Dan! Thanks for sharing! Makes sense. Most people under-value the importance of a solid night’s sleep. Establishing one’s personal sleep pattern for BEST daily living is essential, in my opinion.
    As an insomniac for well over 15 years, I am thrilled to finally understand this about my personal sleep cycle better than anyone. Your father-in-law and I are enjoying your timely and useful information. Thanks again!

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