Types of Naps

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Napping is a common form of sleeping that lasts between ten minutes and two hours. There are five types of naps, and each is meant to provide different benefits to your physical and psychological well-being. How long you nap depends on what you want to achieve. The less time you sleep, the more likely your body will wake up before entering the deeper stages of sleep. Naps are important in giving you energy throughout the day if you don't get a good night's sleep or feel stressed.

The importance of a nap depends on how long you sleep and its effect on your body. Napping for too long can disrupt how you sleep at night, making it hard to fall asleep. The five different types of naps are the following:

  1. Recovery Nap
  2. Prophylactic Nap
  3. Appetitive Nap
  4. Fulfillment Nap
  5. Essential Nap

Some naps last longer than others, providing different advantages for your mental and physical health.

1. Recovery Nap

A recovery nap is used to increase alertness and decrease drowsiness. It lasts less than 30 minutes, allowing your body to sleep lightly. It provides you with the opportunity to wake up before entering deep sleep. A recovery nap is recommended when you don't get good sleep at night. It's beneficial for people who feel tired due to a lack of rest.

2. Prophylactic Nap

A prophylactic nap is meant to prevent health problems. It's used by drivers or people who work night shifts. Prophylactic naps are also recommended for children, especially those with hyperactivity disorders. Your body will naturally feel tired after waking up, so you'll fall back asleep without too much effort. A prophylactic nap is long, usually taking two to three hours. It's used before a night shift because it allows the brain to enter the deeper stages of sleep.

3. Appetitive Nap

An appetitive nap is used to increase motivation, productivity, and creativity. It's recommended for students or people who find it hard to concentrate during the day. People who feel tired due to lack of sleep are also advised to have an appetitive nap. An appetitive nap takes anywhere between one and three hours. An appetitive nap is taken for enjoyment and to make up for the sleep lost due to stress and obligations.

Illustration of a Man Napping on a Couch

4. Fulfillment Nap

A fulfillment nap is meant to provide rest and recovery for your body. It's used by toddlers, children, athletes, or people who work physically demanding jobs. A fulfillment nap lasts anywhere between ten minutes and one hour, allowing you to achieve physical relaxation without feeling tired after waking up.

5. Essential Nap

An essential nap is meant to improve your mood. It's taken by people who suffer from depression or have low motivation. Essential naps are also beneficial for teenagers, especially those who stay up late at night playing video games. This five-minute nap is brief but effective in making you feel better and more optimistic.

How are Nap Types Different from Each Other?

Nap types are different from each other based on how long they last and the benefits they provide. Each nap type has different effects on your body and mind.

Recovery naps increase alertness and prevent drowsiness when you need to stay awake the most; they're beneficial after a late night or due to lack of sleep.

Prophylactic naps prevent health problems such as fatigue, hyperactivity, and insomnia in cases where you experience fatigue for an extended period. Prophylactic naps are a good way to avoid sleep deprivation for people who work night shifts.

An appetitive nap increases motivation, productivity, and creativity while fulfilling your physical needs after waking up. Children with hyperactivity can benefit from an appetitive nap because it allows them to focus throughout the day. Adults can enjoy increased energy levels from appetitive naps.

An essential nap improves your mood, making you feel better after waking up. Psychologists may recommend essential naps for patients who are depressed due to lack of sleep.

Which Nap Type is the Most Beneficial?

The most beneficial nap type is the recovery nap. A recovery nap lasts ten to thirty minutes and is often referred to as a “power nap.” It helps to reduce drowsiness and increase alertness when you feel tired during the day. A recovery nap shouldn't be longer than 30 minutes because it stops being a recovery nap. Napping for too long can affect your night's sleep.

The benefits of napping can influence your mind and body. Each nap type varies in terms of its benefits, duration, and effects on your system. Every nap is good for catching up on sleep, but they have different effects on your body, depending on how long you sleep.

Editor

Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Based in Los Angeles, she is an experienced writer and journalist who enjoys spending her free time at the beach, hiking, reading, or exploring new places around town.

She’s also an avid traveler who has a personal goal of being able to successfully sleep on an airplane someday.

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