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NASA: Napping Just 26 Minutes Can Improve Job Performance by a Third

What's the ideal length for a catnap? Research from NASA offers a very specific answer


Naps have had some great press lately, and for good reason. Research shows they boost memory, improve performance, make your brain work better, and reduce stress. The truth is, a snoozing employee is more likely to be a savvy productivity hacker than a slacker. 

But just because the research is conclusive that naps boost performance, it doesn’t mean science has told us everything we need to know about them. Another question remains: Exactly what length of nap is best? Thankfully, science has an answer to this question, too. 

A little napping goes a long, long way

It comes from the very precise folks at NASA, who studied naps to make sure sleepy pilots weren’t putting themselves or passengers at risk. Business Insider shared the bottom-line takeaway recently:

When it comes to naps, short is generally better. Unless you have 90 minutes or more to devote to making up for last night’s lost shuteye, avoid spending more than a half hour asleep or your body will enter the deeper phases of sleep, making it harder to wake up and leaving you groggier longer once you do. 

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