Everyone loves a good nap. Good news is that many recent studies have expounded the benefits of naps on creativity, mood, productivity, and overall health. A 60-minute nap can boost alertness for up to 10 hours and a 45-minute nap can improve memory and learning. Naps have also been thought to reduces stress and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, and excessive weight gain. No nap is a bad nap, but knowing when and how long to nap can achieve various results.
Limiting naps to 45-minutes or less will enhance alertness and concentration. This may also get you into REM sleep, which enhances creative thinking and boosts sensory processing. Any longer and you may drift off into slow-wave sleep, will result in grogginess upon waking.
Taking a nap between 90 and 120 minutes will get you all stages of sleep, providing all the previous benefits as well as catching up on sleep. This will also get you a full sleep cycle, which reduces grogginess upon waking.
When you take your naps can also be important. Most mammals, humans included, are physiologically programmed for multiple rounds of sleep per day. One in very early morning, and another in early afternoon. For best results, night owls will want to take a nap around 2:30 or 3pm while early rises will want to shoot for 1 to 1:30pm.
So don't feel bad if you feel a little sleepy mid day, it's only nature! Lay down, curl up, and catch a few z's to have a more creative, productive, and energetic day.