It’s the middle of the day, and you’re feeling exhausted. You need a quick burst of energy to get you through the rest of the workday, but it’s not quite time for coffee yet. Maybe it’s time for a nap?
If you’re among the millions of Americans who are sleep-deprived, a nap might be just what you need. Sleeping during the day can help restore your energy and make you more alert in the afternoon. But if you don’t do it right, a nap can also cause grogginess and make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
So how do you take the perfect daytime nap? We asked several sleep experts for their advice on getting your best sleep in the middle of the day.
- The ideal length of a nap is 20 minutes. Experts agree that napping is generally most effective when done in short bursts. A short nap — usually between 10 and 30 minutes — will leave you feeling refreshed, but won’t cause too much drowsiness afterward. You want to wake up before your sleep cycle gets too deep because then you’ll feel really disoriented when you wake up.
- Where should you nap? In a dark, quiet place where there’s a minimal distraction. And make sure you’re comfortable — if your bed is too hard or too soft, it might negatively affect your ability to drift off.
- When should you take a nap? To get the most out of a short snooze, the ideal time to take one is between 1 and 3 p.m. That’s when our bodies start to experience a natural dip in energy levels that can leave us feeling tired and less alert than we were earlier in the day.
- Determine if you actually need a nap or if you just need more sleep at night. If you feel like you need a nap every day after work, or sometimes even during the workday, then chances are your body needs more sleep at night.