If you’re sleep deprived, a nap may be just what you need to recharge. That’s according to sleep consultant, Nancy Rothstein. She teaches an online class for NYU on sleep wellness. And she’s found that even really short naps can be beneficial.
For example, if you need instant energy – a really short nap can do the trick. That’s because you’ll only be going through the lighter stages of sleep. So when you wake up, you won’t be groggy. In fact, according to the US Department of Veteran Affairs – even a nap that’s only 8-point-4 minutes long can increase cognitive function and alertness.
If you need to be really focused after a nap – get 20 minutes. According to the Human Technology Research Institute, a 20 minute nap helped test subjects feel more engrossed in what they were doing.
If you want to improve your memory – go for a 45 minute nap. If you sleep for 45 minutes, you’ll enter the first stage of deep sleep – which improves memory tasks by about 20 percent. You’ll also be calmer and less likely to overindulge – in food, shopping, or whatever you splurge on impulsively. But if you’re going to sleep for 45 minutes – give yourself the full hour to recover. You’ll need 15 minutes once you wake up to shake off the grogginess.
Finally, if you need to come up with solutions or creative ideas, give yourself 90 minutes to nap. That’ll allow you to reach the deepest stage of sleep. According to a study conducted by UC San Diego, sleeping for 90 minutes will transfer short term memories to long term. To use this type of nap efficiently, before you go to sleep, write down what you’re working on – and what you’d like to accomplish. Because while you sleep, your brain will conjure up helpful information that you might not have thought of, otherwise. And again, give yourself 15 minutes, at least, to shake off your post-nap drowsiness.