Remember: Naps do not make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, but a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.
How long to nap?
10 to 20 minutes- This power nap is ideal for a boost in alertness and energy, experts say. This length usually limits you to the later stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, making it easier to hit the ground running after waking up.
Some study shows sleeping this long may cause sleep inertia, a hangover like groggy feeling the lasts for up to 30 minutes after waking up, before the nap's restorative benefits become apparent.
This nap is best for improvement in remembering facts, faces and names. It includes slow wave sleep, the deepest type. The downside: some grogginess upon waking up.
This is a full cycle of sleep, meaning the lighter and deeper stages, including REM sleep, typically likened to the dreaming stage. This leads to improved emotional and procedural memory i.e. riding a bike, playing the piano and creativity. A nap of this length typically avoid sleeping interia, making it easier to wake up.
Siesta time, 1 PM to 4 PM, is ideal, though it depends on when people wake up and go to bed. Napping later in the day can interfere with falling asleep at night.
Reducing the Sleep Deficit
Healthy adults who don't get as much sleep as they'd like should nap. A person who dreams during a short nap likely is sleep deprived. For conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea, napping isn't recommended
Where to Nap?
In a comfortable chair, under a desk, lying on the couch – whatever works, experts say. But to avoid a deep sleep, it's best to sit slightly upright.