How long should you nap for when working from home?
Working from home generally meant I had a better night's sleep and had an easier transition into the day with no stressful commute or jarring alarm clock. I found there were 4 different time frames I would nap for.
You want to keep your nap time to multiples of 20min to ensure you are worken up at a stage in your sleep cycle that is the least disruptive.
15/20 mins nap
I would generally find that a 15/20 mins nap was plenty for me and did wonders when my brain was slowing down or I couldn’t get through a paragraph without having to reread it 3 times. This allowed me to get into a REM stage of sleep which helps with mental restoration and wake up not feeling too groggy or tired.
40 to 60 mins nap
Like many people I found myself working from home when I was sick or had a red-eye flight back into London, and on occasion, the work party the night before.
In these scenarios, it was rare that I managed a good night's sleep. I found a more restorative 40 to 60 mins nap was what I needed. This allowed me to get more restorative deep sleep which helps with memory. The downside was, sometimes I would wake up feeling groggy or still a bit tired.
Avoid the 30min nap this will wake you up feeling groggy!
Knowing I may wake up feeling groggy I would plan not to jump straight back into work and resist the urge to carry on napping or move my workstation to the bed. Getting up and making a cup of tea, hanging up the washing or rearranging my work environment usually was what I needed to allow my mind and body to wake up fully and be ready to jump back into work.
90 min nap
The 90min nap was rare for me. I simply didn’t want to finish work later because I spent more time napping. I thought I would share the 90min nap for those of you who's working hours are less time-bound. This nap has the best impact on improving procedural memory, creativity, and emotions. If timed right you also likely to avoid the groggy sleep feeling
Naps longer than 90min
If you are regularly napping more than 90 min, I would start to pay attention to the quality of sleep you are getting at night. Napping shouldn’t be a substitute for poor sleep. Nothing beats a good night's sleep, and unfortunately, sleep is not something you can catch up on. Naps will help but you won't regain the full benefits of the sleep you lost out on.
Setting an alarm
I am a big fan of gentle alarms. I use a music alarm to ease out of my sleep cycle and not be shocked out of sleep. Smartwatches also have a more gentle vibration alarm.
Loud intrusive alarms tense your body and wake you up in a stressed fight of flight mode, this is counter-intuitive when your goal is to relax and restore.
Play around with what is your optimal napping time, you usually want to keep it to multiples of 20min to ensure you wake up at good points during your sleep cycles.