When you only managed to clock five hours of (lousy) sleep last night and are trying to use that to get you through a workday, it’s normal that you’d think a midday nap is just what you need to get you over the afternoon energy crash. But even if it feels like nothing short of a few hours of shuteye will manage to get you energized, the ideal nap time to get you back in good shape is actually a lot less than you might expect.
According to research, the ideal length of a power nap isn’t an hour or 30 minutes (even if you wish it was and feel like it ought to be), but is in fact just 10 minutes. In that short time of napping, you’re actually likelier to see immediate improvements in alertness and energy following your name than if you were to let yourself doze off for longer.
That being said, the length of your nap isn’t the only thing that determines how effective it is in boosting your energy. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re keeping a few key factors in mind when it comes to a little midday snooze if you want to get the most out of it.
“Plan to have that 10-minute nap at the same time and place every day,” recommends Rebecca Lee, a nurse and the founder of Remedies for Me, a site dedicated to exploring the benefits of natural remedies. “It may be difficult to fall asleep at first, but will become easier as your system adjusts to the routine.”
Lee notes that it’s also a good idea, if you’re napping in your car or the break room at work, to set an alarm on your phone so that you don’t sleep too long. You should also pop in your headphones to help block out any distracting noises around you. Basically, since you’re only getting 10 minutes of shuteye, you want to ensure that they’re a good 10 minutes where the conditions are optimal for napping.
Another pro tip? If you’re a coffee drinker, have your caffeine right before your nap. The coffee won’t kick in quickly enough to jeopardize your quick dose of shuteye, but it will kick in just in time for you to enjoy the energy boost when you wake up.