What’s the ideal nap time? Learn how to optimise your naps for greater energy and productivity

What’s the ideal nap time? Learn how to optimise your naps for greater energy and productivity

15 Nov 2021

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:

Recovery nap

This is usually taken when you’re sleep-deprived and the body needs to compensate for the loss of sleep (1).

Prophylactic nap

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).

Appetitive nap

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).

Fulfillment nap

This is taken by infants and toddlers who have a greater need of sleep than adults (1).

Essential nap

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.

Ideal nap time

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):

Memory consolidation

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).

Performance enhancement

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

Ideal nap time

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.


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