If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open throughout the day, it might be a sign you need a quick afternoon shut-eye. After all, almost one-third of Americans use naps to deal with their sleepiness.
Once a childhood staple, many adults struggle to nap in a way that works for them.
It takes some trial and error to figure out the best nap length, type, and strategy for your needs. If you’re ready to give napping your best shot, keep reading for our top tips to optimize your nap time.
Naps should generally last 20–90 minutes. But the optimal nap length varies based on your age, lifestyle, and health needs. For example, newborns need 14–17 hours of sleep, while seniors only need seven to eight hours. We generally need less sleep as we get older, but you can nap at any age.
You want to nap long enough that you’re actually getting a bit of sleep without risking sleep inertia, which is that groggy feeling you get when you wake up from a long nap.
There are a couple different types of naps you can try based on your sleep goals and needs. Let’s go over the most common nap types to see which you should try next.
Power Nap — A nap for a boost of energy when you’re short on time.
Recovery Nap — A nap you take to make up for lost sleep.
Prophylactic Nap — A nap to prepare for an all-nighter or sleepless night.
Appetitive Nap — A nap taken for no reason other than the joy of napping.
Fulfillment Nap — A nap taken by a child who needs more sleep than an adult.
Caffeine Nap — A nap timed after having caffeine so you wake up as it kicks in.
Essential Nap — A nap taken when someone is sick as a result of their illness.
|Nap Type||Length||What It’s For|
|Power Nap||10–20 Minutes||Get A Boost Of Energy|
|Recovery Nap||90 Minutes||Make Up For Lost Sleep|
|Prophylactic Nap||90 Minutes||Prepare For A Sleepless Night|
|Appetitive Nap||Any Length||Nap For The Sake Of Enjoyment|
|Fulfillment Nap||30+ Minutes||Fulfill A Child’s Need For More Sleep|
|Caffeine Nap||20 Minutes||Gain Double The Energy|
|Essential Nap||Any Length||Feel Better When Sick|
Taking a nap comes with many benefits to your emotional and physical wellbeing. When you’re getting in your beauty sleep, you can reap benefits like:
For some people, naps can further exacerbate nighttime sleep issues. If you have trouble falling asleep, napping can be tempting. But there are several reasons why it may not be the best choice:
To improve your nap success, try these research-backed tips to nap better and wake up refreshed.
Naps can’t replace sleep, but many of us are guilty of trying to use them that way. If your nap expectations are too high, you’re going to be let down by your shut-eye.
Set an intention before you nap. Do you want to feel extra energized for a task you’ve been procrastinating? Do you need a pre-dinner boost? Or maybe you just want to have a moment to yourself?
If you nap with intent, you’re more likely to get what you need from your midday snooze. For some intention guidance, try Casper’s guided meditation while you’re drifting off.
If you nap without an alarm, you risk waking up later than you expected — landing right in that danger zone where you wake up extra groggy.
When you’ve decided what type of nap you’re going to take and how long it will be, set an alarm to keep yourself accountable. It’s extra important to stop hitting snooze on your nap alarm.
If you find you’re a serial snoozer, consider shortening your naps a bit to limit that groggy, post-nap feeling.
Naps are different from regular nighttime sleep, so you want to make sure you’re not taking your naps too close to bedtime. If you’re napping right before bed, you could be negatively impacting your ability to fall asleep at night.
Of course, it’s not helpful to take a nap right after you wake up either, but napping in the afternoon with some solid time before bed can help you hit that nap sweet spot.
The key to an efficient nap is being able to fall asleep fast, so make sure you’re creating the best environment for sleep to maximize your nap efficiency.
While naps are a great tool for relaxation and catching up on some zzz’s, they shouldn’t be a daily occurrence. If you need to nap daily to function, this could be indicative of underlying health issues.
When possible, save naps for when you really need them and reach out to your doctor for guidance if you’re worried about napping too much.
Exciting plans are a great motivator for getting out of bed after a nap. It’s tempting to stay in your loungewear all day after a nap, but your life awaits.
If you still want to nap but don’t have any evening plans to tempt you out of bed, try a wake up meditation to combat sleep inertia.
Naps should generally last 20–90 minutes. Shorter naps are generally favored, but longer naps can be beneficial if you’re missing out on sleep during the night or if you’re feeling sick.
A power nap should last 10–20 minutes so you can wake up refreshed without interrupting your sleep cycles.
It’s better to take a nap earlier in the day because it’s less likely to negatively impact your sleep at night.
You might be more tired after naps longer than 30 minutes because you’re waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle. The phenomenon of waking up tired post-nap is called sleep inertia, and while it’s more common in longer naps, it can happen with any nap length.
To combat sleep inertia, try to get up and walk around right when you wake up from a nap. The drowsy feeling should dissipate within a couple minutes.
Whether you’re a serial snoozer that has your best nap length down pat or you’re a napping newbie, we have the essentials you need to sleep better. Follow our tips and get your head in the clouds with our Silk Sleep Mask and snuggle in for your best nap yet.