Read this article to learn about the different types of naps. Learn how each works to your benefit. Plus, practical tips on how to improve your snoozing.
Hey there, fellow napper! (And if you aren’t one, now is a good time to start.) Just so you know, napping is more than closing your eyes for a spell. It has tons of benefits for your health and well-being.
Napping is something you should consider a daily habit. It's not a sign of laziness that’s for sure. It's a sign that self-care is a priority. And that you understand your body's needs.
Think of it as a tool that can help you stay healthy while maximizing your productivity. So, keep reading to understand how and why.
Ever wondered why a good nap leaves you feeling refreshed and energized?
Well, it's because it kickstarts specific body and brain processes. These recharge your brain, put you in a better mood and make you feel more alert. Not to mention enhances your creativity.
It’s also one way of coping with lost sleep from the night before. Science Daily says that research suggests napping helps your immune and neuroendocrine systems bounce back from lack of sleep(1). It also helps consolidate your memories and improves your ability to remember things.
Get the Most Out of Napping with These Tips
Whatever type of nap you take, here are some practical tips on taking it to the next level.
Establish and stick to a regular nap schedule.
Depending on how your day usually goes, develop a set time to take a nap (and try not to deviate). Like the sleep-wake schedule you might follow for sleeping at night, the one for your snooze also regulates your sleep cycle.
Sleep Foundation says that the best time to take a nap is after lunch. It’s when most people feel their energy levels dip(2). It’s also wise to snooze before 3 p.m. Otherwise, you may have a hard time falling asleep in the evening.
There are exceptions to this, of course. For instance, if you’re a shift worker, you may have to take your naps at a different time altogether. (Keep reading to see what type of nap is best for shift workers.)
Create a restful environment.
It’s important to make sure your surroundings are conducive to a good snooze. And what does that mean exactly? It means napping in a dark, quiet and cool room.
Now this isn’t always the easiest setting to achieve, especially if you’re napping at work. The answer? Choosing sleep accessories that will block out light and noise, plus make things comfy.
Invest in a sleep mask with a superior light-blocking feature and a comfy pair of earplugs. An extra helpful accessory is a nap pillow. Why not consider ours?
Our version of a nap pillow features an arc design, which lets you adjust its height. It’s ultra soft and comfy. But don’t let looks fool you. It’s super stable so your head and neck get full support.
We made Manta NAP Arc with high-quality, cooling fabric. It has a reversible cover that’s 100% machine-washable.
To adjust the height simply pull on the strap to increase the height. And to lower it, pull at the G-hook.
The arc design ensures that you feel zero pressure on your arm. You can forget pins and needles, that’s for sure.
With these sleep accessories, it’ll be easier for you to take a comfortable and restful snooze on your work desk.
Set an alarm.
Now this tip is important: set an alarm. If you nap too long, you may experience sleep inertia, which is feeling groggy and disoriented upon awakening.
How long is the perfect nap, you may ask? Well, it varies depending on the type of nap you're going for. More on that in the next couple of sections, so keep reading.
Understanding the Different Types of Naps
Now that you know why napping is important for your health, it's time to explore the 5 types of naps:
Each of these serves a specific purpose and have different benefits. In the next couple of sections, we'll take a closer look at them and how they can help you get the rest you need (and deserve).
Also known as a recovery nap, the power nap is shorter than most other snooze types. It can reboot and rejuvenate your body and brain. And it won’t give you sleep inertia. That’s because they last for just 10 to 30 minutes, whichever fits your groove best.
Taking a power nap can provide the following benefits:
It’s a mood lifter.
It’ll give your memory, and ability to learn and problem-solve a boost.
It’ll increase your energy levels.
You’ll feel more alert.
A power nap can be helpful if you didn’t get enough zzzs the night before. But it’s important to note that it isn’t a solution for chronic sleep deprivation. If you’re not getting enough shuteye regularly, see a doctor to address the root cause.
Next up is the coffee nap. It’s the perfect type of nap to take when you need to feel extra alert. Going by its name alone, this nap might sound counterintuitive. But hear us out.
The idea behind a coffee nap is to drink a cuppa Joe and then take a short, 20-minute nap right after. Caffeine takes about 20 minutes to start working. So, by the time you wake up, it’ll start taking effect.
Here are several benefits of a coffee nap:
Higher alertness levels
Better physical performance
Boosts mental performance
Ideal for those who are driving
Just remember to set your alarm for 20 minutes to maximize a coffee nap’s benefits.
Shout out to all the shift workers out there! If you’re facing a double shift and know you’ll be missing out on sleep, then this type of nap is for you.
If you expect that you’ll be sleep deprived, then take a nap before your shift. This type of nap is longer than most at 2 to 3 hours, according to Sleep Advisor(3). The duration allows you to slip into deep sleep stages.
Here are the benefits of a prophylactic nap:
Helps you stay focused when it matters most
This type of nap is your ticket to dodge exhaustion. It isn’t the type of nap you take because you're sleepy, but to prevent feeling tired in the future.
Of all the types of naps, the appetitive snooze doesn’t have a specific goal. It’s the kind of snooze that someone with a regular nap schedule takes even when they aren’t tired.
The benefits include:
Feeling refreshed and less tired
Better work performance
Appetitive naps are typically under 30 minutes, according to Sleepspace. A recent study shows that napping for less than 20 minutes in the middle of the afternoon works too(4).
There are times that you need an extra long nap to make up for sleep loss. Also known as a full sleep cycle nap, the replacement nap lasts for 90 minutes.
This is usually enough time for you to go through a whole sleep cycle. You go through the lighter stages to slow-wave to REM sleep.
Here are its benefits:
It increases your alertness levels.
You wake up feeling rested and refreshed.
It gives you a memory boost.
It enhances creativity.
But always remember that naps aren’t a long-term fix for chronic sleep deprivation. It’s true that a replacement nap might help you cope with sleep loss. But it cannot totally reverse the effects of sleep deprivation.
So now that you know the different types of naps, it's time to put them to good use. Napping can supercharge your day by giving you health, productivity, and well-being a much-needed boost.
To summarize, the types of naps are the: power nap, coffee nap, prophylactic nap, appetitive nap and replacement nap. So, go ahead and use each one to your advantage.
Let us know which type of nap works for your best by leaving a comment below.
(1) “Napping reverses health effects of poor sleep, study finds.” Science Daily, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150210141734.htm. Accessed 29 June 2023.
(2) “Napping: Benefits and Tips.” Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/napping. Accessed 29 June 2023.
(3) “Types of Naps & Their Benefits.” Sleep Advisor, www.sleepadvisor.org/types-of-naps/. Accessed 29 June 2023.
(4) “The Science of Napping: simple guidelines to nap like a champ.” Sleepspace, sleepspace.com/napping/. Accessed 29 June 2023.
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