You need a nap. You know it. You feel it. But the last time you took a nap, it wasn’t long enough and you got stuck going to that job interview feeling groggy and acting dull. Not a good deal. You heard that a half hour nap is the absolute best. That makes no sense because that’s exactly the advice you took before the interview fail.
You’re correct. That nap advice screwed you. A thirty minute nap is the worst nap you can take. It leaves you groggy and needing more sleep. Sleep is important and we all know that it’s not always possible to get the right amount of shut-eye at night. Stress, work, homework, babies, etc. can really mess up your evening. This makes a nap – the right nap – integral to your survival on those high stakes days. We’re here to help you figure out how long your nap should be.
The Power Nap (15 minutes): This is the nap to take when you have a break at work and keep nodding off at your desk. You don’t enter REM sleep, but your body gets a powerful re-charge that can get you through the afternoon of meetings and work. This nap also comes in handy when you’re a sleepy mom with little kids. Pop in their favorite video, set your alarm for 15 minutes, and you’ll be alert and ready to join them before it ends.
The Retention Nap (one hour): Are you studying for a big test but need some sleep? This is the nap for you! Remember a nap can come at any time day or night. If it’s 8 p.m. and you have been hitting the books all day, sleep until 9 and your brain will better retain and remember all of the stuff you need for your test. Why? Because your brain got the chance for a bit of slow-wave sleep (the deepest type) so it could process what you are studying and get ready for more abuse. You’ll be a little groggy upon waking but a cold drink or some healthy food will help you keep going until you’re ready for some real sleep.
The REM Nap (90 minutes): This is the best nap of all. Your brain gets some slow-wave sleep and you get some of that dreaming that we all need to keep us from hallucinating all day long. This is the nap you need before that big job interview or if you’re slated to take an essay exam. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep enhances creativity, procedural memory, and emotional stability. In addition, this long nap doesn’t usually come with that post-nap groggies. This nap can not only help you ace your essay exam, it can save your relationship. Remember that many couples break up during the stress of finals. So grab your honey and take a REM nap as needed.
Sleep is important and now that you know which type of nap you need for which occasion, you’ll be getting the sleep you need when you need it. Sleep tight!