Sunday, September 24, 2023

How Long Should My Afternoon Power Nap Be?

An afternoon nap should end in the light sleep phase of your sleep cycle to avoid sleep inertia.


  • Either take a power nap of less than 30 minutes or sleep longer than 90 minutes. Anything in between will make you groggier when you wake up.
  • Avoid long naps after 3 pm, which may mess up your sleep schedule.

The Science

  • Daytime nap improves alertness, focus, decision-making, memory, and mood.
  • It can reduce stress and increase workplace performance.
  • In athletes, a nap can improve physical endurance and reaction time.
  • A study found that napping can lower the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease.
  • A typical sleep cycle involves 20 to 30 minutes of light sleep, 20 to 40 minutes of deep sleep, and the final 30 minutes of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. At night, the body cycles through these stages multiple times.
  • If the body is woken up from either deep sleep or REM sleep, the person feels groggy, and his physical ability may stay low due to ‘sleep inertia’. So one should wake up from an afternoon nap while in the light sleep stage, which means a power nap should be shorter than 20 to 30 minutes.
  • If sleeping longer, completing a sleep cycle of 90 to 120 minutes and waking up in the following light sleep cycle is better.
  • However, taking a long nap after 3 pm will disrupt the night sleep schedule. So don’t take long naps late afternoon unless you have a severe sleep deficit.

To Read More

First Published on: 16th May 2023
Image Credit: Polina Zimmerman on Pexels


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