How Long To Nap For The Biggest Brain Benefits

How Long To Nap For The Biggest Brain Benefits

Taking a nap 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.

The sleep experts in the article say a power nap 10-20 minutes long 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.

While you’re planning your nap, don’t forget to time it for the right time of day as well.

The Perfect Nap: Sleeping Is a Mix of Art and Science [The Wall Street Journal via NextDraft]


  • Napping is my religion, which is why I doubt I could actually get a job working for someone else nowadays. I find a good 20 minutes after lunch is best……sometimes I like to have an extra nap at about 10am…..My life is hard but don’t pity me.

    • I drive to a nearby shopping centre for lunch and often have a 20 minute nap whilst there. No one at work need ever know 🙂

  • 45 minutes. I can get 4 hours of sleep in a night (2am – 6am) with a 45 minute nap starting somewhere between 1pm & 2pm. I can do this for weeks without needing a full night (8 hours) of sleep.

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