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What’s the Optimal Nap Time?

Existing research shows that a brief nap can improve cognitive function and mood.

One study found that napping improved orientation, language, and memory skills in people aged above 60.

Naps ranging from 10 to 60 minutes offered immediate improvements in mood and alertness, according to a small study consisting of 32 young adults. A 2021 meta-analysis also suggested that short naps can reduce fatigue, boost productivity, and improve physical performance.

But napping too much could be unhealthy. Previous studies have shown that excessive daytime sleepiness and napping for over 60 minutes might increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

Previous research suggested that a 10-minute nap was the most effective at improving sleep latency, fatigue, vigor, and cognitive performance, according to Yishan Xu, PhD, DBSM, a board-certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist and the host of a podcast called Deep Into Sleep.

“I often suggest patients not to take a nap longer than 40 minutes,” Xu told Verywell. 

Most research shows that naps under 30 minutes hold the best benefits as it’s less likely for people to enter the deep sleep stage or experience sleep inertia, a period of impaired alertness right after waking. 

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