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Which is Really Better? The Debate Between Short & Long Naps

On the days when you are feeling mentally and physically strained and drained, yet you know that you still have a few more hours to get through, is there anything better than setting your head down on a cushion or pillow and drifting off for a midday nap? While naps used to be associated with laziness and insomnia, the attitude that the medical community and society at large has towards naps is definitely changing for the better. Studies have been showing for quite some time now that naps are often extremely beneficial for a person’s overall health and wellness.

But which is better for you - a short nap or a long one? Medical professionals and everyday people alike each tend to have their own personal opinions on this matter, and it is true that both types of naps have their benefits as well as their drawbacks. With the information I gathered from an informative article by She Knows that I recently read, here are the facts on both types of naps, so you can better decide which one is right for you at any given time.

Short naps are mainly ideal for people who experience chronic insomnia, or who have trouble falling asleep at a reasonable hour for any other reason. A short nap can be very effective and beneficial, but it should be kept under thirty minutes. Ideally, the nap will fall somewhere between the fifteen minute to twenty six minute range (the twenty six minute nap, also known as the NASA nap, has been shown to increase alertness by over fifty percent in test subjects). Interestingly enough, these short naps have the power and ability to actually turn a person’s mood around. If you are in a particularly crabby mood, a cat nap may be all you need to enhance senses of gratitude and positivity throughout the rest of your day.

On the other hand, longer naps are more effective when it comes to improving workplace productivity and enhancing creativity. Naps that are “long” should be at least forty minutes, but should not run longer than ninety minutes, which is the length of a full sleep cycle. These longer naps can give a boost to short-term memory and fine motor skills, which makes them great to take right before getting started on a big task or a creative project.

Whichever form you choose, naps can be great on occasion. if you are feeling fatigued most days, and napping doesn’t refresh you, see a doctor to rule out more serious health concerns.


Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Susana Fernandez

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