Napping has emerged as a controversial topic. Some studies have shown that napping can negatively impact one’s ability to fall and stay asleep at night, while others have shown that it can increase one’s alertness and ability to function at optimal levels throughout the day. Although napping may not be for everyone, it has shown to have a number of benefits in short periods not close to bed time.
- Planned napping involves taking a nap before you actually get sleepy. You may use this technique when you know that you will be up later than your normal bed time, or as a mechanism to ward off getting tired earlier (e.g. will be staying up late to write a paper or prepare for an exam)
- Emergency napping occurs when you are suddenly very tired and cannot continue with the activity you were originally engaged in
- Habitual napping is practiced when a person takes a nap at the same time each day (e.g. taking a nap after every 2pm class)
Nap Timing and Duration
A short nap is usually recommended (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness. This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.
If you take a nap too late in the day, it might affect your nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep at your regular bedtime. If you try to take it too early in the day, your body may not be ready for more sleep.
Take a look at the Napping Wheel to figure out when your optimal nap time is!