We all know that we need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. But what if that’s not possible? What if your sleep cycle is often interrupted by children, pets, or that one repetitive song that won’t get out of your head?
Naps are the answer to this timeless problem! Although once seen as something only the lazy do, naps are powerful tools for everyone when used in the right way.
If you’re feeling sluggish and need a little pick-me-up to help you get through the day, keep reading. We’ll go through all the types of naps, how they help, and when it’s best to use them.
Benefits of Napping
There are several stages of sleeping, each with their own benefits.
Stage 1 happens right as you fall asleep. You’re still semi-lucid and wake up easier than any other stage. Reaching stage 1 gives you extra energy.
Stage 2 gives you better motor control, letting you get through even the most delicate of tasks with flying colors. It also helps to boost focus, concentration, and energy.
Stages 3 and 4 are often grouped together and called “slow wave” sleep. This is the kind of sleep your brain needs to rebuild tissue and rid itself of any toxins and unnecessary information. From this, it gives you a better memory and cognitive functioning when you next wake up.
The last stage, also known as REM sleep, is where dreams start to form. It gives you all kinds of strange visions to remember—and forget—once you wake up. REM boosts your perception and creativity while strengthening all of the benefits from the other stages.
As you can see, making a habit out of napping doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re giving your brain the right support it needs to stay healthy. All the best online therapy counselors tell you that much.
Power Nap (15 Minutes)
A power nap seems so small at first glance, but sometimes a good 15 minutes is all you need. This kind of nap is best for giving you more concentration and an extra kick of energy.
With a power nap, you reach stage 2 of the sleeping cycle. This stage is important for helping your brain relax and improve your memory. It gives it enough rest to feel rejuvenated without getting too deep into the cycle.
Getting up from this short nap means you’ll have the capacity to get back to work right away. There should be no excessive grogginess holding you back.
The best part is that a power nap is so short, even the busiest schedule can fit one in somewhere.
This nap is perfect for anyone who needs to turn off for a little while and give their brains a short break.
Snooze Session (30 Minutes)
If you found yourself lying awake in bed last night and now you can’t concentrate on your work, take a little snooze. 30 minutes of napping gets you everything a power nap does, but with extra benefits.
You’ll give your brain plenty of stage 2 sleep, giving you some much-needed rest without risking sleep inertia. Because you’ll be in stage 2 for longer than a power nap, you’ll get far more energy replenishment. You’ll also feel more focused and energized for the rest of the day.
Anything more than 30 minutes means your brain is about to head for the deeper stages of sleep. You want to wake up before this happens in order to stop yourself from feeling groggy. That sleepy and slow feeling counteracts the benefits of the nap, so make sure to set an alarm beforehand.
This nap is perfect for anyone who didn’t get a full night’s sleep the night before.
Energizing Doze (60 minutes)
Of all the types of napping, this one is a little more tricky. It’s longer, meaning you touch into slow wave sleep, but it’s too short to get up into REM sleep.
It’s often better to lengthen or shorten your nap to match one of the others listed here in order to keep yourself from feeling too groggy afterward.
But because we’re all different, it’s possible this is the right choice for your needs. Some people fare better with this duration than others. It takes experimentation to find the right nap for you and your sleepy brain.
When you first get up, chances are good that you’ll feel a bit groggy. This is normal. After another 30 minutes or so of consciousness, you’ll feel the effects of your nap in full strength.
This nap is perfect for anyone who wants something similar to a 30-minute nap, but with longer and more creative effects.
Full Refresher (90 Minutes)
Whenever it feels as though you’ve had no sleep whatsoever, turn towards this duration of a nap. It follows the same patterns as a regular night’s sleep and gives the same benefits as well.
You’ll reach a good amount of REM sleep in this refreshing nap which leaves you feeling well-rested and ready to tackle the day.
Due to the fact that this nap mimics an 8-hour sleep cycle, the latest you’ll want to take a 90-minute nap is early afternoon. Any time before is fine, but any time after will mess with your regular sleep schedule.
Don’t forget to set an alarm to make sure you get up in time. Since you’re in the later stages of sleep, waking up on your own is not easy. But if you continue to sleep past the 90 minutes, you’ll mess up your sleep cycle and end up far too groggy once you wake up.
This nap is perfect for anyone who needs to emulate a full night’s sleep in a shorter period of time.
All Types of Naps Are Beneficial When Planned Ahead
With a little forethought, naps give you that extra burst of energy that’s needed to finish the day with the same amount of productivity.
Whenever a nap is necessary, take another look at this list. No more naps that leave you more tired than before, or ones that last too long and mess with your sleep schedule. With this list, you know the right types of naps to get yourself going again.
Now that you’ve got naps under control, find out how to make sure you get the most out of a whole night’s sleep as well!