This recipe for the perfect nap time might surprise you

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by Alissa
This cat knows what's up. (Photo by Steve JurvetsonCC BY 2.0)

I've always been a fan of naps (well, of sleeping in general) and I've finally discovered the optimal nap time for me: Saturday morning. Yes, seriously, MORNING!

Each weekend I feel like I need a little more rest, but I've been trying to be vigilant about going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, since it improves my sleep. Sleeping in just throws that whole circadian rhythm thing off and I wind up groggier than if I hadn't taken the extra snooze.

I have friends who swear by Sunday afternoon naps, but I can't stand them!

By the time I wake up afterwards I just feel like the weekend is GONE. There's no time to do much else but hurriedly figure out dinner, and frantically try to clean all the things I meant to clean. Plus, afternoon naps make it harder for me to fall asleep at night, so I end up staying up later and screwing up that whole circadian rhythm thing once again.

Instead, Saturday mornings I wake up at 6am-ish like normal. I putz around for a few hours doing errands, tending the garden, maybe work out, and then I go back to bed around 9:30 or 10am. A ninety-minute to two-hour nap later, I awake fully refreshed, ready for lunch, and still have SO MUCH WEEKEND ahead of me for fun and productivity!

How about you? What are the key components of a great nap for you?

  1. I've done the mid-morning nap, usually when I've spent the night caring for an infant. But I'm allll about the Saturday afternoon nap. When you wake up, it's time to eat and party!

  2. I love this! My favorite thing to do on a Saturday is sleep in then get up and take a nap on the couch! 🙂 Of course, the older I get, the harder it seems to be to sleep in…so a Saturday morning nap is the perfect solution!

    • I seriously had to check the full date on this post when I saw your comment. It amuses me how frequently I see other Vee's around, since I've been going by Vee online and in real life for almost 14 years now.
      I approve of having a fellow offbeat-lifer be my doppelgänger!

  3. I'm an afternoon napper myself, but for me the optimal thing is the ninety minute nap. In college someone told me that human sleep cycle is ninety minutes long and you get groggy if woken in the middle. I have absolutely no scientific support for this theory but it seems to work for my body. So ninety minute naps it is!

    • Up until recently, I would always nap for almost exactly an hour and then wake up again, refreshed. I think now my body is pushing it towards 90 minutes. Maybe my sleep cycles have changed!

  4. I get sleepy for a nap Sunday afternoons. I feel like it's a nice end to my weekend 🙂 When I wake up, I usually go somewhere or just outside, eat dinner, then settle in and finish all my pre-week things before bed.

  5. I love my naps. I typically will take a nap on Saturday/Sunday afternoon, usually around 2pm. I like my naps to be about 20 minutes which cures my afternoon sleepiness but is right in that sweet spot where I feel refreshed instead of groggy. Longer than about 25 minutes and I do wake up feeling groggy and grumpy.

    My whole family naps, so when we get together, there is always this period of the afternoon where everyone retreats to their bed or a sofa and takes a little nappy nap.

  6. There's a guide somewhere online for how long to nap. A 20-min liedown is not enough for me to fall asleep, but it usually helps me recuperate. An hour leaves me feeling pretty good, though I might take a bit longer to get back to feeling awake. 2 hours leaves me groggy for longer, and usually affects my ability to sleep later. I rarely nap!

  7. I'm totally with you. A mid-morning nap is the only time I can get extra rest without grogginess. Sometimes my husband takes our 4yo son out to breakfast while I go back to bed on the occasional weekend day… bliss 🙂

  8. I nap almost daily but I work nights so that can be part of it. I usually get home from work between 12 & 2, go to bed around 5 (my husband works til 4 some nights), wake up at 10, then nap from 1-230 before I have to get ready to be at work by 4.

  9. I LOVE naps. I try to take a nap every day so I don't get all angry or fall asleep as soon as the sun goes down. My husband goes to work super early in the morning, but I don't have anything to get up for right now. So I wake up and take him to work and then play around the house for a bit. Then I'm ready to nap! At that point, it's like 8 or 9 in the morning. Perfect nap time! Then when I get up, it's almost lunch time! It's great! I love mid-morning naps!

  10. I am ALL about the 4:30pm nap. When I was a girl, my mom used to come home from work in the afternoon and then watch Oprah from 4-5pm. She'd always do some sort of little chore during the first half hour – sort mail, fold laundry, etc, and then fall asleep for the second half. It must be hereditary because I do the same thing (sans Oprah). Then I get up, I'm pleasantly groggy for a little bit, and then ready to seize the night. Oh, and I always nap better when I take off my pants.

  11. You guys. I love a mid-morning nap! Get up, get some food, maybe a cup of coffee, check my e-mail, then go back to bed for a nap until lunch.
    When I was still a student, this was a staple of my studying routine. Swap out check my e-mail for "read chapters for class" and this was basically grad school.

  12. My favorite is noon, which is also when I am most…libidinous. So a screw and a nap right around lunchtime is fabulous!

  13. When I was in college, magic nappy time was between 3 and 4:30. I'd come back from my afternoon class, curl up on my bed and snooze until it was time to wake up, splash some water on my face, brush my hair and hit the caf for dinner. It was wonderful, and I enjoyed it so much. I come from a family of nappers, too, so I didn't feel like a slacker for sleeping in the afternoon.

    These days, though, I don't find myself enjoying naps. My husband swears by a "power nap"…he'll get off work, doze off for 30 minutes to an hour, and then be all bright eyed and ready to enjoy the rest of the evening. To me, that's just enough sleep to piss me off…and I feel groggy and cranky and then I can't sleep when it's bedtime.

    I'm going to have to try the morning nap, though, I've never considered it. Maybe it will be as magically delicious as my afternoon naps used to be.

  14. When I was working a normal office job I had a pillow in the back of my car so that I could, instead of spending my lunch hour eating food I didn't need, drive to a nearby park, stop under a tree and have a snooze in the back of the car. It was great!

  15. I'm a sahm of 2 year old twins. I nap most days when they do I set the alarm on my cell for about 45 min later. Some days I can't fall asleep others I get that snooze until it shuts down. If I don't hit the snooze I usually then still have some time to do work I can't always do when the kiddos are awake.

  16. When i worked a factory job, I started at 6am, which meant my alarm went off at 4:30am… ugh. I got into the habit of coming home from work, showering, then taking about a 2 hour nap until my husband came home from work. It really helped when i wanted to stay up past 9pm 😉

  17. I used to never be able to nap when I was younger, but in college I did some, and as I get older I find I need it more. I rarely have the time to lie down for more than 20 minutes, which isn't enough to really sleep, but does help. My favorite nap happens Sunday morning. One of my jobs is cantoring services at a church near my house; Sunday I wake up around 6:39 for an 8:30 mass, then walk home, and lie down for roughly 40 minutes before walking back for the 11 o'clock service. This snooze nearly always refreshes me, and it's often magical time of snuggling with my husband and both cats. Sometimes, after I finish for the day at 12, I come back an take a longer nap, usually until 1:30 or 2, before getting on with my day. One thing that really throws me off is the late afternoon nap in the winter time. If it's darker when I wake up than when I went to sleep, I get SO disoriented.

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