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What’s the Best Time to Nap?

A man naps on a desk while holding a cup of coffee.
Katsiaryna Pakhomava/Shutterstock.com

Whether you’ve been working on a project, cleaning the house, or running after kids all day, sometimes adults need naps, too. If you have the chance to schedule one into your day, is there a best time to nap?

Surprise, there is! The best time to nap is early afternoon before 3 p.m.

What makes this the ideal nap time? Well, it’s all about keeping your actual bedtime on the right track. Experts recommend not napping eight hours before you typically fall asleep. For most people, that’s before 3 p.m. If you go beyond that time, there’s a chance you won’t be able to fall asleep quickly once nighttime hits.

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Could you nap in the late morning? Sure, if that’s what works best for your schedule. An 11 a.m. nap shouldn’t interfere with your sleep. However, most people tend to sleep in the afternoon because of their circadian rhythm, the internal clock that controls sleep and wake cycles. For most people, their rhythm reaches its peak twice in a day—once at night and once in the early afternoon. That’s your slump. That’s why early afternoon works best.

Yes, a nap does work to reinvigorate you. A short power nap (roughly 30 minutes or so) can help improve cognitive function, improve mood, and reduce tiredness. The next time you feel sleepiness coming on and it’s before 3 p.m. go ahead and take that nap.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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