How to nap

(with appreciation to Doug Bolston, adapted by Katarina)
Research has shown many benefits to naps—especially short ones. For example, over the course of a day, people’s ability to respond to stimuli—like an email from a coworker—naturally dwindles. A 2014 study in the journal Nature Neuroscience showed that people who took a 30-minute midday nap paused this decline in attention, and those who snoozed for 60 minutes actually reversed some of that day’s deterioration.

While everyone you know swears by a certain magic number (7 minutes! No, 17 minutes!), the National Sleep Foundation has this to say: “a short nap”—say, 20 minutes—“can help to improve mood, alertness and performance,” without side effects like grogginess.

Feeling really experimental? Try napping after drinking coffee. Several studies have shown that if you caffeinate before as short nap of 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll wake feeling even perkier than usual, because caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in. As Vox put it, “coffee naps are better than coffee or naps.”

Whatever you do, please do not try to replace your evening sleep with napping. While it has plenty of benefits, 20 minutes of shuteye in the afternoon is nothing like a good night’s rest.

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