Sleep researcher: ‘The perfect nap lasts between 10 and 25 minutes’ | NOW

In Spain, the siesta is part of a healthy lifestyle. And rightly so, as various studies have shown that napping can actually have beneficial health effects, provided you take it correctly. The neurologist and sleep researcher Roselyne Rijsman on the perfect nap.

What does a nap do for health?

“That depends, among other things, on how long your afternoon nap lasts. Research has shown that people are more awake after a ten-minute nap.”

“Napping between twenty and ninety minutes not only has a positive effect on alertness, but also on memory and control of emotions: you have fewer mood swings. With a nap this long, you just make sure that you are not anywhere. wake up between thirty and ninety minutes. “

What happens then?

“Then you run the risk of becoming lifeless and a little groggy Wake up. This is because you wake up at the wrong time in the sleep cycle. A sleep cycle lasts ninety minutes and is divided into phases: first we enter light sleep, then deep sleep, and then brake or dream sleep. When you are awakened while in deep sleep, it is difficult to wake up. You feel tired and heavy instead of refreshed. “

“Anyone who sleeps late during the day loses the quality of their night sleep.”

So the perfect nap lasts either a maximum of thirty minutes or longer than ninety minutes?

“No. The perfect nap lasts between 10 and 25 minutes. After ninety minutes you return to the light sleep phase, from which you wake up light and refreshed, but those who sleep late during the day lose the quality of their night sleep.”

When is the best time to take a nap?

“In terms of timing, it is best between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. After lunch, of course, the body already has an energy dip. Under no circumstances do you sleep between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm. The longer and later If you sleep during the day, the harder it will be to fall asleep at night. It can change the rhythm of your biological clock and cause sleep problems. “

What else do you have to think about?

“Take your nap in a quiet, dark place where you can’t be disturbed. And set an alarm to make sure you wake up on time.”

Can a nap make up for a short night or a night?

“No. Certainly not if you suffer from chronic insomnia or insomnia. It will likely improve your performance the next day, but it is not a substitute for night sleep. Living by your biological clock is the most important thing for a good life course. Physiological Processes. “

DR. Roselyne Rijsman is a neurologist and somnologist at the Center for Sleep and Waking Disorders at the Haaglanden Medical Center (HMC).