How long should a nap last? The ideal duration of a daytime sleep
A short daytime nap can have beneficial effects on your physical and mental alertness, but allowing a siesta to go on for too long can have negative consequences.
Napping is generally seen as a healthy habit, but sometimes this is not the case.
Recent research carried out by the journal Hypertension, for example, has indicated that those who regularly sleep during the day may be likelier to develop high blood pressure or have a stroke. Studies have also cautioned that having a nap too soon after eating can have negative effects on the digestive process.
Don’t nap for too long!
The duration of a siesta is important, too: experts warn of the dangers of allowing a nap to last too long.
If you allow a daytime snooze to continue for too significant a period of time, your body will drift into night’s-sleep mode and it’s likely you’ll wake up tired, disorientated and even with a headache. Come bedtime, you may find it difficult to fall asleep again.
How long should a nap last?
Ideally, a nap should last for between 10 and 20 minutes, says the US Sleep Foundation, a Seattle-based body whose medical experts offer advice on sleep science and medicine. “This provides restorative sleep without drowsiness after waking,” the organisation explains.
A study by the Journal of Sleep Research, a publication owned by the European Sleep Research Society, agrees that short naps are beneficial, noting that they have been found to have positive effects on the brain’s ability to retain previously acquired information.
The Sleep Foundation also warns against napping too late in the day, as this may also make it harder to drop off at night.
Set an alarm, try the keys trick
To avoid overdoing it when you have a siesta, it’s a good idea to set an alarm. Alternatively, a well-known trick is to take your nap with a set of keys in your hand. When they slip from your grasp and fall to the ground, that’s your signal to get up again.