Napping infographic Napping infographic

How Long to Nap for the Biggest Brain Benefits Featured

According to a growing body of research, napping is a smart thing to do.
It can help refresh the mind, make you more creative, and boost your -

Taking a nap, we've seen time and again, is like rebooting your brain.
But napping may be as much of an art as it is a science. The Wall Street
Journal offers recommendations for planning your perfect nap, including
how long to nap and when.

Somebody in Spain told me that you should take your siesta with a set of
keys in your hand. When the keys fall from your hand to the floor, the
sound wakes you and that's your siesta over. For me that's more of a cat
nap than a siesta, pero bueno :)

Sleep experts in the article say a 10-to-20-minute power nap gives you
the best "bang for your buck," but depending on what you want the nap to
do for you, other durations might be ideal:

For a quick boost of alertness, experts say a 10-to-20-minute power
nap is adequate for getting back to work in a pinch.

For cognitive memory processing, however, a 60-minute nap may do
more good, Dr. Mednick said. Including slow-wave sleep helps with
remembering facts, places and faces. The downside: some grogginess
upon waking.

Finally, the 90-minute nap will likely involve a full cycle of
sleep, which aids creativity and emotional and procedural memory,
such as learning how to ride a bike. Waking up after REM sleep
usually means a minimal amount of sleep inertia, Dr. Mednick said.

In addition to those recommendations, one surprising suggestion is to
sit slightly upright during your nap, because it will help you avoid a
deep sleep. And if you find yourself dreaming during your power naps, it
may be a sign you're sleep deprived.

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