How long should I nap for?

Think napping’s just for babies and cats? Think again! A well-timed nap can do wonders for our health and wellbeing at any age. And after all, there’s nothing nicer than a cosy afternoon nap, especially after a long winter walk or a big Sunday lunch. Many people think that having an afternoon snooze will make you feel more tired than simply ploughing on through but that’s often not the case.

It’s all about the timing when it comes to feeling totally refreshed. Only around 20 to 30 minutes is the optimum amount of time you need to feel more alert and less short tempered. By having a nap of this length, you only enter the lightest stage of non-REM sleep, so it’s easier to wake up and get going again. It’s a good idea to set an alarm to ensure you don’t nap for too long and wake up feeling grotty.

If you do start to oversleep and head towards the one-hour mark, you’ll start to go into the deeper stages of sleep which means your brain waves will slow down. When you do finally wake up you’ll likely feel very fuzzy and groggy, almost as if you have a hangover. These are the types of naps to avoid as it will take you longer to come round and you might well wish you hadn’t bothered.

The good news is, that if you stay asleep long enough, after 90 minutes your body will have completed one full sleep cycle (i.e from the lightest stage of sleep to the deepest and back again). This means you’ll likely feel more refreshed once you wake up than if you’d just completed half a cycle.

Napping for just the right amount of time has been shown to boost mood, creativity and memory. And please make sure that your sleep environment is comfortable, quiet and cool.

If you prefer to doze on the sofa or in an armchair rather than go to bed, you might find one of our Kally V-pillows helpful to try. Comfortable and supportive, they are very versatile and relieve pressure on your neck and back so no nasty muscle knots when you wake up! They’re also ideal for relaxing after an operation or for nursing mothers.

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