A guide to the perfect nap

Many people swear by the power nap. In fact, Albert Einstein claimed he took a daily nap in addition to having ten hours of sleep each night.

Proponents of the nap say it helps them to get their energy back, stay on their game and make it through a big day. Still, others find that naps leave them feeling groggy and can disrupt their sleep cycle, making it difficult to get to sleep in the evenings.

To nap or not to nap ultimately comes down to a personal choice about whether it works for your sleep style. But for those looking to up their nap game, we’ve done some research into what elements contribute to the perfect power nap to refresh and energise you.

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The key to a successful nap is in the duration. Too short and you don’t feel refreshed — too long and you’ll struggle to sleep in the evening. Twenty to thirty minutes is generally accepted as the ideal nap time, but this will differ from person to person and does not apply to children or infants. The reason for this is because of the nature of sleep. We sleep in cycles of five phases, with three stages of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep followed by two stages of deeper sleep, known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. If the duration of your nap is long enough, your body will shift into the deeper state of REM sleep. This will make awakening from your nap difficult and leave you feeling groggy, since your body was just beginning to enter a deeper sleep. To wake up from a nap feeling refreshed, it is better to stick to the three “shallow” NREM sleep phases, which occur in the first fifteen to thirty minutes of sleep.

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Wondering when is the best time to nap? The answer is that it depends on many individual factors. To avoid your nap interfering with evening sleep, it is best to avoid the late afternoon and aim to take your nap from 5-6 hours away from bedtime. On the flip side, most people won’t feel like taking a nap in the morning when they have just woken up! After lunch in the early afternoon is often the best time to schedule a quick power nap that will boost you through the afternoon and into the evening.

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  • Take your nap in a comfortable place, like your bed. This will help you to fall asleep quickly and make the most of your nap time.
  • Close down electronics and eliminate disturbances to prevent you from being woken from your nap earlier than planned.
  • Use a gentle alarm or have someone in the household wake you at your chosen time.
  • Check out our Sleep Tips for more advice on sleep.

At Sealy, we believe that great sleep is essential for overall health and wellbeing. A high quality, comfortable mattress is the first step towards a great night’s sleep. If you think a Sealy bed might be what you need to improve your sleep, check out our Bed Selector to find your perfect Sealy match.

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