There's nothing wrong with a good nap. In fact, napping is one of our favorite things to do. And we're not the only ones who think so: Many doctors and researchers advocate napping to improve your productivity and health. There are even certain times during the day when it's best to take a quick snooze—and others when it would be better to keep yourself awake. Here, we'll break down how to get the most out of your afternoon (and evening) slumber.
It's best to nap between 1 and 3 p.m.
It's best to nap between 1 and 3 p.m. Napping during these hours will help you sleep better at night, as your body's circadian rhythms are at their peak and the body is most relaxed during this time. The brain is also most active at this time of day--it releases the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy, so it's easy for us to fall asleep if we want or need to take a nap in the afternoon.
Avoid napping after 7 p.m.
It's also important to avoid napping too late in the day. If you're planning on taking a nap, do it earlier in the afternoon or early evening. Napping after 7 p.m. can make it harder to fall asleep at night because your body's circadian rhythm is at its lowest point then--which means that your brain will be more active than usual and therefore harder for you to shut down for sleep.
If you must nap after 7 p.m., limit yourself to only 15 minutes (or less) of sleep time! And don't forget: A good night's rest is just as important as a good day's work; don't let naps get in the way of either one!
Avoid napping before noon.
If you're looking to nap during the day, it's best to wait till later in the afternoon. Napping before noon can make you groggy, interfere with your sleep at night and even make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
Try not to nap too late either--as tempting as it may be after a long day of work or school: naps after 3 p.m. will throw off your natural circadian rhythm and make it harder for you to fall asleep when it's time for bedtime (which should happen no later than 10 p.m.).
Don't nap right after you wake up.
Napping too soon after waking up can lead to grogginess and irritability. If you wake up at 11 AM, it's best to wait until 1 PM or later before taking a nap. You'll be more likely to fall back asleep quickly if your body has had time to process the sleep cycle you just went through.
Napping is a good way to refresh yourself and get through the day. It can help you feel better and more alert, but only if you're doing it right. The best time for napping is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., when your circadian rhythms are strongest. Avoid napping after 7 p.m., because it might interfere with nighttime sleep patterns; also avoid naps before noon since they can make it harder to fall asleep at nighttime as well (even though they do have some health benefits). Finally, don't nap right after waking up in order to not disrupt nighttime sleep cycles too much!