Photo of a beautiful black young woman sleeping on the sofa

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Rules for napping

Photo of a beautiful black young woman sleeping on the sofa

Few things are more glorious than a nice nap. However, I have noticed that sometimes I have a hard time waking up and end up groggy for hours. After a little research, I found out the length of your nap will determine how you feel afterward! What you need from the nap should tell you how long to sleep; it’s called the 30-90 rule.

Scientists studying sleep cycles tell us that naps are good for us, but sometimes too long is too much. When we doze off, our brains cycle through different sleep phases in blocks of about 90 minutes. The first 30 minutes is a phase of light sleep. Then follows deeper sleep lasting 30-75 minutes. Before waking you enter REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.This is where intense dreaming occurs.The deep sleep phase (30-75 minutes) takes care of fatigue. REM sleep concerns memory and mood. It archives memories and gets rid of everything else the brain doesn’t need. This will give us an idea for our nap duration.

A short nap (25-30) minutes is good for concentration, memory boosting, and refreshing your brain. NASA scientists found that the ideal nap length to boost cognitive performance found that a 26 minute nap increased performance by 34%. Now if you have a sleep debt (meaning you are not getting enough sleep at night) you might need to sleep at least 90 minutes. 90 -120 minutes will take you through all the sleep cycles. It will clear your mind, improve memory recall, and recoup lost sleep. Waking from REM sleep rather than deep sleep will leave you perky, awake, and not groggy. Use the 30-90 rule next time you nap. Less than 30 or more than 90!

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago