27.06.2015
Regardless of which of these three options you pick for your nap, you'll want to ensure you wake up refreshed.
Napping for more than two hours is not recommended, as it can lead to difficulty sleeping at night. Be warned that too long of a nap can also be a sign that something is wrong: an underlying medical condition, for example.
So if you find yourself getting plenty of sleep at night and still requiring a nap every day of over an hour in length, it may be worthwhile to go to the doctor for a check-up.
Another problem with napping for over two hours is that it can be an indication that you're simply not getting enough sleep each night. There are several schools of thought as to what is the best length of time to nap for energy.
In contrast, consistently napping for over two hours is not considered beneficial for energy, and could even indicate an underlying medical condition.
If you want to nap, but are not in a situation to do so, then some short-term alternatives are coffee, a walk outdoors or just resting.
Overall, napping is a great strategy for you to gain energy when the nap is from 20 to 90 minutes in length.
James Maas, former chairman of the Department of Psychology at Cornell University who is widely credited with coining the term “power nap,” says people should choose between 20 and 90 minutes for a power nap, should set an alarm, only nap if they haven’t had adequate sleep (7.5 hours or more), sleep in a space heated at 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and rest laying down. Studies have shown that taking short naps could help folks become more productive and energized for the rest of their day.


If you didn't sleep well the night before - or simply have very long days - you may benefit from a nap. The theory behind the 15 to 20 minute power nap is that it is short enough that there is no risk of falling into too deep of a sleep and waking up groggy (see reference 1).
One full sleep cycle, from first falling asleep all the way to REM sleep, is 90 minutes long on average (see reference 3). There are a few exceptions to this rule, for example if the individual is specifically using a biphasic sleep pattern with a briefer-than-standard night time sleep and with a nap built into the daytime routine.
This has been shown in a recent study, where people who consistently napped for over an hour a day were later found to be more likely to die early (reference 4). In other words, a long nap can be a symptom of poor night time sleep, and not a proper solution in itself.
If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, or staying asleep, you should avoid daytime naps.
A short yet invigorating walk outside can deliver a big energy booster at a time when you might normally want to nap (reference 3).
Whether you choose a short power-nap, a mid-length nap or a full sleep cycle is entirely up to you.
This length of nap can be greatly effective in reducing the dangerous risk of falling asleep on the job for those with jobs involving aviation, trains, and other transportation. Another option for maximizing your post-nap energy is to drink a cup of coffee immediately before napping (reference 3).


Obviously, it's not the naps that are thought to be causing this, but instead that the need for long naps is likely to be brought upon by the underlying medical condition.
It has been shown that insomniacs who take daytime naps have a harder time falling asleep at night (reference 3).
However, drinking a cup of coffee will temporarily increase your alertness so at a pinch you can substitute that for a nap. These options will take anywhere from around 20 to 90 minutes, so you can be certain of benefiting from increased alertness if you nap from 20 to 90 minutes.
However, the downside of the power nap is that few people can fall asleep on demand for such a brief time.
Make a point of going to bed earlier - odds are you'll feel so refreshed that you may not need to nap during the day anymore! Now for the bad news: you may feel more awake, but drinking coffee will not help restore memory function the same way a nap would (see reference 2).
I’ve never napped for shorter than two hours a day in my life, and I refuse to take a present participle of blame for that fact.



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