how long should a nap be
A 2-hour long nap may leave you feeling groggy and disrupt your nightly sleep cycle. The ideal nap length is either a short power nap (20-minute nap) or up to 90 minutes.

A two-hour nap may leave you feeling groggy and hamper your normal sleep cycle. Generally, you want to nap for less than an hour and take it earlier in the day (such as before 2 or 3 p.m.).

Keep in mind the following when taking naps:

  • For a variety of reasons, the ideal nap length varies with people (age, career, lifestyle, schedule, etc.).
  • However, most experts agree that a short power nap (such as a 20-minute nap) or a full sleep cycle (about 90 minutes) is optimal.
  • You may feel sleepy when you wake up after a two-hour nap, which may result in problems falling asleep later.
  • If you take a nap that lasts more than an hour, your circadian rhythm is likely to be disrupted.
  • If your nap interferes with your nightly sleep, you won't feel any better the next morning.
  • A long nap, such as two hours per day, could indicate sleep deprivation or another sleep disorder, which may need a doctor’s consultation.

What are the benefits of 90 minutes of napping every day?

A 90-minute nap per day improves your mental and physical function, response time and cognitive ability. Other advantages of taking such a nap include:

  • Better mood
  • Increased alertness
  • Greater ability to learn
  • Relaxation
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Lower nightly sleep need
  • Help prevent high blood pressure
  • Boosts memory

What is a power nap?

A power nap is a brief period of daytime sleep that might help you feel refreshed when you are tired. Power naps are designed to be short enough that you wake up before the onset of the deep sleep stage (REM and slow-wave sleep).

  • If you have 15 to 30 minutes to spare, a power nap can revitalize you and give you the energy you need to finish your day.
  • When you take a power nap, you wake up before deep sleep starts and stay in the lighter stages of sleep, which helps avoid the drowsy, post-nap feeling most people experience.
  • Sleeping or even resting for a short while when you feel tired in the middle of the day makes you more relaxed, reduces stress, increases efficiency and improves your overall health.
  • Power naps are not meant to replace any overnight sleep, but rather are supposed to give you that extra push when you are fatigued throughout the day.
  • Due to the sleep cycles, different time spans spent napping provide varying consequences; therefore, it's crucial to know how long to nap to get these benefits.
  • If you want to try a power nap, select a cool, dark place where you would not be bothered while you sleep.

What is the best music to listen to during napping?

Slower music has been proven in tests to be more soothing, allowing people to sleep quickly, especially during brief or power naps. Classical music can help lower stress hormone levels and reduce the pulse and heart rate. Relaxing music promotes physiological changes that, in many ways, mirror a sleep state. The physiological changes that allow you to go asleep and stay asleep include a slower heart rate, slower breathing and lower blood pressure.

Music has a relaxing effect on the emotional brain, which aids in stress and anxiety relief. Listening to relaxing music while napping is practically the same as assisting your body in entering the sleep state, both physically and psychologically, which aids in sleeping better in a short time.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/15/2021
References
Mayo Clinic. Napping: Do's and don'ts for healthy adults. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319

Fry A. Napping. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/napping

Adler L. How Long Is an Ideal Nap? Sleep.Org. https://www.sleep.org/how-long-to-nap/