Who doesn’t love nap times, right? Nothing is better than a power snooze to give you a boost in energy! A nap is typically a short period of sleep taken during the day anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes (1). Typically we take a nap out of habit, or to shift tiredness and fatigue. Napping is a ubiquitous experience that we all indulge in from time to time, but how long should we nap for? We answer your questions!
Type of Naps
There are several categories of naps, based on the purpose that they serve. Knowing the goal with your mid-day sleep schedule can help make sure you get the most out of your sleep.
Let’s take a look at some of the types of naps:
This is usually taken when you’re sleep-deprived and the body needs to compensate for the loss of sleep (1).
This is taken in preparation for a long night where you may lose sleep, for instance if you’re a night shift worker that naps before (or during) your shifts to stay alert at work (1).
This is the feel-good nap we know and love - this nap is typically taken for fun, to relax, and boost mood and energy levels (1).
This is taken by infants and toddlers who have a greater need of sleep than adults (1).
We take these naps when the body is sick and requires sleep, giving the immune system extra energy to fight infection and promote healing of the body (1). This is closer to a slow wave sleep which is more of a deep sleep.
How naps help you
Aside from reducing sleepiness and fatigue, there are many other benefits napping can give to the body. Even if the body has received the right amount of sleep during the night before, a daytime nap can still provide the following benefits (3):
Sleep plays an important role in stabilising our memory, especially for newly learned information. Daytime naps are sometimes as effective as a night’s sleep in improving long-term memory formation and in facilitating memory processes (2).
Naps have been found to improve a wide range of cognitive abilities, such as boosting learning, emotional stability, procedural skills, executive function, and attention (2).
Reduced fatigue and stress
A power nap can help the body restore alertness and recover from fatigue, especially if you’re feeling particularly tired. Napping reduces sleepiness significantly, and can have a clear positive effect on alertness (4).
Factors that affect a nap
There are certain things that need to be considered when taking a nap to make sure napping doesn’t lead to sleep inertia. This is where the sleepiness one feels after waking from a nap can cause a feeling of disorientation and an inability to focus (5).
Here are some factors that you can use to your advantage to regulate naps for the best outcome:
Ideal nap time
The ideal nap time is in the early afternoon, before 3.00 p.m., to avoid interfering with your sleep at night (6). To help determine what time is best to nap for you, you may determine the halfway point between the time you wake up and the time you intend to go to bed, and schedule your nap then (1).
Ideal nap duration
Several studies have shown that the ideal nap length can be as short as 10 minutes can yield many benefits (8). Naps that don’t go past 30 minutes are most of the time referred to as power naps because they give you the benefits of sleep without the grogginess after (1).
Napping for more than 30 minutes can trigger the body’s rapid eye movement or REM. This is the body’s sleep phase where chemicals are released into the bloodstream that shift the body into a deeper sleep mode. Going too deep into your sleep cycle while napping can lead to feeling groggy and disoriented after waking up, and being unable to sleep later at night (7).
Make sure to consider these factors before taking a power nap. Aside from making sure you are getting the right amount at the right time, supplements for sleep can help improve the quality of rest napping can provide.
Ashwagandha for sleep
Ashwagandha, or withania somnifera, is a herb that is found in Asia and Africa, and is commonly used to support stress (9). It is a part of the Ayurvedic system of medicine where it is utilised as a tonic for various diseases (10).
Research has found that ashwagandha contains triethylene glycol that brings on sleepiness (12). This helps improve the quality of our sleep and helps the body fall asleep quicker (11). A non-invasive sleep study found that after taking ashwagandha for six weeks, participants described their sleep as 72% better on average (13).
Ashwagandha can come as a powder, tea, tincture, or tablets. Ashwagandha supplements can be mixed with other vitamins and herbs to support health (14).
Sleep is an important process that helps our body rest and recover. Taking supplements alongside a healthy diet can give you the sleep benefits you need(14).
Napping can be a helpful way to make sure the body gets enough break and rest it needs, even during long and busy days. Vitable Australia offers a monthly vitamin subscription where you can choose personalised supplements for your needs. Improve the quality of your power naps by availing of vitamin delivery straight to your doorstep.
- Fry, A. “Napping”. Sleep Foundation: Sleepfoundation.Org. Published October 9, 2020 on https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/napping. Accessed September 28, 2021.
- McDevitt, E. A., Sattari, N., Duggan, K. A., Cellini, N., Whitehurst, L. N., Perera, C., Reihanabad, N., Granados, S., Hernandez, L., & Mednick, S. C. “The impact of frequent napping and nap practice on sleep-dependent memory in humans”. US National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published October 10, 2018 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6180010/. Accessed September 28, 2021.
- Mantua, J., & Spencer, R. M. “Exploring the nap paradox: are mid-day sleep bouts a friend or foe?” National Library of Medicine: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published March 6, 2017 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28899546/. Accessed September 28, 2021.
- Gillberg, M., Kecklund, G., Axelsson, J., & ÅKerstedt, T. “The Effects of a Short Daytime Nap After Restricted Night Sleep.” US National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published September 19, 1996 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8899936/. Accessed September 28, 2021.
- Hughes, R. G. “Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses, Volume 3”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published 2008 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2645/. Accessed September 28, 2021.
- Mayo Clinic Content Team. “Napping: Do’s and don’ts for healthy adults”. Mayo Clinic: Mayolicnic.Org. Published November 13, 2020 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319. Accessed September 29, 2021.
- Adler, L. "How Long Is an Ideal Nap?” Sleep Org: Sleep.Org. Published Augusts 11, 2021 on https://www.sleep.org/how-long-to-nap/. Accessed September 29, 2021.
- Dhand, R., & Sohal, H. “Good sleep, bad sleep! The role of daytime naps in healthy adults”. National Library of Medicine: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published November 12, 2016 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17053484/. Accessed September 29, 2021.
- Medline Plus Content Team. “Ashwagandha”. Medline Plus: Medlineplus.Gov. Published June 23, 2021 on https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/953.html#Description. Accessed September 29, 2021.
- Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. “An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda”. National Library of Medicine: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published July 3, 2011 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/. Accessed September 29, 2021.
- Langade, D., Kanchi, S., Salve, J., Debnath, K., & Ambegaokar, D. “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study”. Cureus: Cureus.Com. Published September 28, 2019 on https://www.cureus.com/articles/22928-efficacy-and-safety-of-ashwagandha-withania-somnifera-root-extract-in-insomnia-and-anxiety-a-double-blind-randomized-placebo-controlled-study. Accessed September 29, 2021.
- Kaushik, M. K., Kaul, S. C., Wadhwa, R., Yanagisawa, M., & Urade, Y. “Triethylene glycol, an active component of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) leaves, is responsible for sleep induction”. National Library of Medicine: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published February 16, 2017 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28207892/. Accessed September 29, 2021.
- Deshpande, A., Irani, N., Balkrishnan, R., & Benny, I. R. “A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study to evaluate the effects of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep quality in healthy adults”. National Library of Medicine: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published March 21, 2020 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32540634/. Accessed September 29, 2021.
- Pacheco, D. “Ashwagandha for Sleep”. Sleep Foundation: Sleepfoundation.Org. Published August 25, 2021 on https://www.sleepfoundation.org/natural-sleep-aids/ashwagandha. Accessed September 29, 2021
- Oregon State University Content Team. “Vitamin C and Skin Health”. Oregon State University: Lpi.Oregonstate.Edu. Published September 19, 2011 on https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C. Accessed September 28, 2021.
- Blumberg, J. B., Camesano, T. A., Cassidy, A., Kris-Etherton, P., Howell, A., Manach, C., Ostertag, L. M., Sies, H., Skulas-Ray, A., & Vita, J. A. “Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health”. National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published November 6, 2013 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3823508/. Accessed September 28, 2021.
- Hemmati, A. A., Foroozan, M., Houshmand, G., Moosavi, Z. B., Bahadoram, M., & Maram, N. S. “The Topical Effect of Grape Seed Extract 2% Cream on Surgery Wound Healing”. National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published October 28, 2014 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4802053/. Accessed September 28, 2021.
- Harvard School of Public Health Content Team. “Collagen”. Harvard School of Public Health: Hsph.Harvard.Edu. Published on https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/. Accessed September 28, 2021.
- Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerß, J., & Voss, W. “A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study”. National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published October 17, 2019 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835901/. Accessed September 28, 2021