young Asian woman napping

The Myth of 20-Minute Naps: Debunking Napping Duration Myths

If you’re given to snoozing off, the chances are that some of your classmates or coworkers have reprimanded you with statements like ‘napping makes you lethargic.’ Well, this is one of the many commonly held misconceptions about naps.  

On the contrary, napping at the right time and over the recommended duration can actually boost your energy levels, among other noteworthy health benefits.  

We’ve taken the liberty to debunk all nap-related myths, starting with the exact duration a typical nap should last.  

infographic of napping

Napping Duration Myths 

1. Longer Naps Are More Effective 

One of the most popular nap misconceptions is that you’ll wake up feeling better off when you doze longer. Nothing could be further from the truth.  

So, how long is the perfect nap?  

According to wellness experts, an ideal nap should last about 20 minutes. Some people may snooze for up to 30 minutes. But anything longer than that is ultimately counterproductive.  

The longer you nap, the harder it is to be awakened and even more difficult to resume your tasks. That’s because you’ve likely begun transitioning into deep sleep after 30 minutes of dozing off. As such, you’ll wake up feeling groggy and more confused. 

2. Shorter Napping duration Are Excellent For Escaping Problematic Bosses 

This is somewhat true but not entirely factual.  

If you work under a horrible supervisor, taking lighter naps may be in your best interest. In fact, you might want to avoid napping altogether to stay out of trouble.  

The good news is that many employers have wised up and now allow their staffers to take naps to boost their workplace productivity.  

But perhaps this statement is a myth because of the health dangers of short naps. Snoozing for a shorter than recommended 20-minute duration may aggravate fatigue instead of relieving it. Very short naps may also worsen mental fogginess, beating the whole purpose of daytime napping. 


Napping Effects Myths 

1. Naps Makes You Tired 

This is perhaps the most commonly held misconception about napping. So much so that many people refuse to snooze just to avoid being told off as lazy.  

But contrary to what you may think, napping doesn’t cause fatigue or indolence. It stimulates your energy, allowing you to be more productive.  

You’ll find it incredibly easy to pay more attention during staff meetings after a well-timed nap.  

2. Napping duration Wastes Your Day 

Many people are inclined to appear busy as opposed to being productive.  

To such folk, the thought of dozing off in the office for just 20 minutes is simply unfathomable.  

Unknown to them, 20 minutes of seemingly wasted napping may optimize productivity by sparking creative energy. 

3. Napping Impairs Your Cognitive Performance 

We’ve all been in situations where we’ve just learned a new concept but are struggling to memorize it. During such moments, your last instinct may be to take a nap, fearing that the freshly acquired information may escape your consciousness forever.  

However, there’s an abundance of research indicating that snoozing may boost cognitive performance.  

Not only does napping help with memory consolidation by moving learned information from short-term to long-term memory, but Its ability to stimulate creative energy makes it easy to recall facts from years back.  

4. Naps Reduces Sleep Quality 

Although somewhat true, the generality of this statement casts aspersions on its credibility.  

It’s a fact that ill-timed napping may interfere with your bedtime routine. For instance, napping longer than 30 minutes and/or late in the evening may reduce sleep quality by prolonging sleep onset time.  

However, a proper daytime nap might actually improve sleep. Experts particularly recommend napping for older adults with chronic sleep deprivation.  

napping woman

Other Napping Myths 

1. You Must Fall Asleep For a shorter Napping duration to Be Effective 

Sleeping may be the most common method to have a great nap. But you don’t necessarily have to be asleep to enjoy a nap.  

Other common ways to unlock the benefits of napping include meditating or lying still in a quiet place.  

Pick a comfortable spot with fewer distractions, just as you would if you were having an actual nap. You might also consider shutting your eyes and locking out all racing thoughts that might otherwise unsettle your meditative state. 

2. Not Everyone Can Nap 

It might prove challenging to nap when you’re battling intense stress and anxiety. However, periods of heightened mental irritation are among the moments to nap.  

As already stated, you’ll wake up feeling happier and re-energized.  

Besides, when stressed and irritable, napping may be difficult if it’s not consistently done. That’s why experts recommend a napping routine whereby you snooze around the same time and place daily. 

3. You Can Nap Anywhere, Anytime 

Some of those who appreciate the benefits of napping believe that they can doze off whenever and wherever they please. After all, it’s only a 20-minute sleep.  

However, this is another napping myth worth debunking.  

Experts recommend napping around 3:00 pm. As already hinted, napping late in the evening may interfere with your sleep routine.  

It’s also important to nap in a comfortable and secure spot. Be mindful of your safety if working somewhat risky jobs, such as construction. 

taking a nap

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Final Word 

There are more benefits to napping than commonly thought. One way to enjoy those perks is to debunk the common myths and misconceptions associated with snoozing. We hope you can now form a healthy napping habit from the point of better information.