Science Has Discovered the Perfect Time Of Day to Take a Nap

Science Has Discovered the Perfect Time Of Day to Take a Nap

The prime napping time occurs between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Sleep researchers (dream job, am I right?) have also discovered the optimal nap length. It all depends on what kind of nap you want to take.

According to Sara Mednick, an assistant psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, there are three categories of superior napping. A 10-20 minute nap is good for a “quick boost of alertness.” An hour-long nap will aid cognitive memory processing, meaning it will help the napper remember basic facts, like where he left his keys. For emotional memory and a creativity boost, Mednick recommends a 90-minute nap (for professional nappers only).

So when should we be taking these naps? In the afternoon between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sleep experts note that it’s crucial not to nap too late, so as to not screw with normal bedtime sleeping. They also warn that if a napper experiences dreaming during a short nap — 20 minutes and less — it’s a sign of serious sleep deprivation, which should be addressed during a normal sleeping schedule, and not with a reliance on napping.

There is, however, one problem with that 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. range: it occurs in the middle of the workday. We have a classic George Costanza conundrum on our hands. 


For napping at work, I recommend MetroNaps, which has installed in-office sleep pods for, most notably, Google and NASA. Hey, maybe it’s the work-naps they’re taking over at Google that’s fueling their quest for global domination. I say you go talk to your Human Resources person right away. Or maybe after a quick 10-minute nap, you know, for that extra boost.

If you have any lingering questions about napping, like how to figure out if you’re a night owl, check out this extensive infographic from the Boston Globe. And yea, this one doesn’t recommend a 60-minute nap. But what did you think napping was, a science?


How much do you trust the information in this article?

Benjamin Cosman

Ben graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Political Science. He recently traveled through New England looking for pie. His second-favorite pastime is googling pictures of politicians laughing.

MORE FROM

There’s now a cochlear implant processor made to work with your iPhone

It's allegedly the first in the world of its kind.

Scientists edited mice brains so that they live longer — and humans could be next

Scientists managed to extend mouse life spans by up to 15%.

You’ll be able to watch the solar eclipse from ridiculous heights, thanks to these balloons

Watch the eclipse live, anywhere, as if you're in space.

Scientists say you should play video games on your breaks at work

Somebody file an expense report for an Xbox, pronto.

Apparently scientists didn’t know why rain drizzle happened — until now

Save this science for a rainy day.

There’s now a cochlear implant processor made to work with your iPhone

It's allegedly the first in the world of its kind.

Scientists edited mice brains so that they live longer — and humans could be next

Scientists managed to extend mouse life spans by up to 15%.

You’ll be able to watch the solar eclipse from ridiculous heights, thanks to these balloons

Watch the eclipse live, anywhere, as if you're in space.

Scientists say you should play video games on your breaks at work

Somebody file an expense report for an Xbox, pronto.

Apparently scientists didn’t know why rain drizzle happened — until now

Save this science for a rainy day.