How Long Should You Nap For When Working From Home?
Without the stressful commute or jarring early morning alarm, I’ve found that working from home has allowed for an easier transition into the working day. I’ve been able to have a better night's sleep and I’m more well-rested during the day. I’ve found that I’m able to combat the usual workplace fatigue and be increasingly productive as a result of napping.
There are 4 different time frames for napping, and I want to share what I’ve found of these rest times.
15-20 Minute Nap
This nap does wonders for me. I found that a short 15-20 minutes was plenty for me and enough to restore my energy when I couldn’t get through a paragraph without having to re-read it 3 times. When I feel like I’m slowing down in the workday and need a boost, this nap allows me to get into a REM stage of sleep which helps with mental restoration whilst ensuring that I don’t wake up feeling too groggy or tired.
40-60 Minute 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 from the night before. In these scenarios, it was rare that I managed a good night's sleep. In fact, I found a more restorative 40 to 60 minutes nap was what I really 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.
Knowing I may wake up feeling groggy, I wouldn’t plan to jump straight back into work. To resist the urge to carry on napping or move my workstation to the bed, I started with menial tasks. Getting up and making a cup of tea, hanging up the washing or rearranging my work environment usually was the slow start that my mind and body needed to fully wake up and be ready to jump back into work. Of course, it takes kicking the initial grogginess but a 40-60 minutes nap can sometimes be the necessary longer rest required.
90 Minute Nap
The 90 minutes 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 90 minutes 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’re also likely to avoid the groggy sleep feeling.
Naps Longer Than 90 Minutes
If you are regularly napping for longer 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.
How you regulate these nap times is up to you but I would suggest gentle alarms. Loud intrusive noises tense your body and wake you up in a stressed flight or fight mode - which is counter-productive when your goal is to relax and restore. I use a music alarm to ease out of my sleep cycle and not be shocked out of sleep. Smart watches also have a more gentle vibration alarm.
You may have different experiences of each of these nap times periods, as we all have various optimal napping times. See what works for you but it’s best to keep the nap time to multiples of 20 minutes in order to ensure you wake up at good points during your sleep cycle.
Get in touch with RestSpaceLDN if you would like to learn more about the length of napping.