Napping is undoubtedly one of life’s simplest pleasures. Sprawling out on a couch on a Saturday afternoon for some shut-eye might not seem like the best way to spend your time, though sleep experts are now arguing that it should.
According to a study from the University of Colorado Boulder, children who didn’t nap in the afternoon were less happy, more anxiety ridden, and displayed problem solving skills. The impact of napping is similar with adults. Researchers at Berkeley found an hour nap dramatically increases learning ability and memory.
Sara Mednick, an assistant psychology professor at the University of California Riverside shared her tips for the ideal nap time with The Wall Street Journal. Her suggestions give insight into why some naps leave you feeling like a whole new person while others leaving you feeling groggy, and even more tired.
Here, the benefits of various nap times. As for the ideal time of day to nap? Experts say the best time is between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m so it doesn’t interfere with your nighttime sleep.
10 to 20 Minutes: Those who only have time for a super short nap can expect to have a boost of alertness and energy. Because you’ll only pass through the NREM (non-rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, it won’t be that difficult to wake up.
30 Minutes: Experts say taking a nap for this length of time can actually leave you feeling groggy for up to 30-minutes after you wake up.
60 Minutes: This is the ideal length of time to nap for those who want to better remember facts, face, and names. While you will feel some grogginess when you wake up, the feeling will pass, experts say.
90 Minutes: This is the full cycle of sleep, meaning that you’ll actually go through the REM (rapid eye movement) cycle (otherwise known as the dream phase). Taking a nap for this length of time can improve emotional and procedural memory (for instance playing the piano) and even boost creativity.