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Naps are a powerful way to reduce sleep debt and is a natural thing to do. Not all naps are created equal, however, and many factors impact how helpful naps can be. By understanding the role of napping, you can learn to take effective naps that support your body’s internal clock and maintain your energy level throughout the day.

Naps have many benefits

Naps are a great way to get an occasional energy boost after a night you didn’t get your sleep need or a critical part of your sleep schedule if you can’t get your sleep need regularly at night—a biphasic sleep pattern.

Naps help:

  • Payback sleep debt
  • Increase alertness and focus
  • Improve learning and memory
  • provide an occasional energy boost after a bad night
  • Maintain a consistent “bi-phasic” sleep schedule


How to create the ideal nap: 

There are three key components to getting the ideal nap. They are:

  • The right environment:
    • Dark, quiet, and comfortable space. If you are in a unique situation and can’t achieve these factors, try using a facemask or earbuds.
  • The right timing:
    • Ideally during your mid-day dip from your personal energy schedule.
  • The right length:
    • The right length nap depends on the function they’ll be serving. Think about what you’re hoping to gain from a nap to help you decide how long you should sleep.
      • power nap (15-25 minutes). Provide recovery benefits and boosts alertness without leaving you feeling sleepy afterward.
      • full-cycle nap (60-105 minutes). Receive all the benefits of a full sleep but you may feel groggy for around an hour afterwards.


Remember, it’s always best to get most of your quality sleep at night—not from naps—unless you have a consistent bi-phasic sleep schedule.