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Are Naps Bad For You?

The Perfect Nap Length (and Why You Need a Nap Daily)

Let's face it: napping is awesome! Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply not someone you need in your life. Napping, however, you most definitely do need in your life. You love it, we love it, and there are many scientific reasons why your body needs it, too! But not all naps are equal. Are you the long napper? Do you take little catnaps? Do you wake up feeling more tired than when you fell asleep? Are your naps planned or are you the spontaneous snoozer? Here's your guide to why you need to nap and the best scenario for the most restful nap of your life.

Why You Need to Nap

How much sleep do you get at night? A CDC study found that more than 40 million workers get fewer than six hours a night, in spite of a National Sleep Foundation report that indicates that we all need between seven and nine hours a night. Needless to say, coming up that light on your sleep needs makes naps a necessity to just catch up on rest and be able to get through all the tasks we have on our schedules on a daily basis. If you reach for sugar in the afternoon to stave off the Zs, then you're also a person who could use a nap — and better nutrition!

Science Says You Should Nap

A recent study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that very short naps improve cognitive alertness and mental capacity. These could be as short as a few minutes or up to 10 minutes of solid shut-eye. Researchers at Clinical Neurophysiology found that a 20-minute nap in the midafternoon could mean the difference between you being at your best for the remainder of the day or not. Another study published by Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences echoed the same findings about the 20-minute power nap. Yet another study done at Berkeley discovered that getting a solid hour of quality sleep exponentially increases and improves brain function. That makes you a better student, worker, or just a better person in general with an amazing short-term memory to boot!

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How Long Should You Nap?

It's obvious there are benefits to napping, but how long should you really be dozing for? The above listed research indicates the benefit of short naps from minutes to an hour, but how long is the best nap? Research published in The Archives of Internal Medicine studied more than 20,000 Greek men and women between ages 20 and 86 and found that the best napping length was 30 minutes. Not convinced? Study participants found that people who took at least three naps of this length per week had a more than 30 percent lowered risk of death via coronary episodes, especially women!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryna Hancock
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