Taking a nap doesn’t have to be as hard for you as it was for Goldilocks. One bed was too hard, another too soft and the third was just right. But she didn’t get to sleep for long before Papa Bear woke her up. Getting the most bang for your buck by catching a few quick Zzzzzs just depends on length of time, sleeping position and time of day.

The brain goes through several cycles about every 90 to 120 minutes during sleep. Non-rapid eye movement sleep is broken down into stage one and two, which are recognized as light and intermediate, followed by slow-wave sleep, which is the deepest type of sleep that can cause grogginess after waking up. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is typically associated with dreaming.

A quick 10- to 20-minute power nap is usually the best way to boost alertness so you can get back to work. Snoozing for 60-minutes that includes slow-wave sleep can help with cognitive memory processing, such as remembering people, places, and things, but it could leave you a bit groggy. The 90-minute nap with REM sleep can aide in creativity and build procedural memory, like learning how to ride a bicycle.

Ideally, naps should be taken between 1 and 4 p.m. because napping any later could interfere with nighttime sleep. If you want to wake up more alert after a short nap, try drinking a caffeinated beverage before sleeping — the caffeine should lessen that after-nap groggy feeling. Also, try to snooze partially upright because not lying totally flat can help you avoid falling into a deeper sleep.

The Sleep Center of Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake provides treatment designed to manage problems that prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. For more information, visit

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218


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