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How Long Is A Sleep Cycle Nap

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Getting A Good Nights Sleep Is All About How You Feel When You Wake Up Right

Imagine a Saturday morning when you open your eyes naturally and how peaceful that feels. Now imagine when your alarm goes off Monday morning and how hard it is to get out of bed. The interesting thing is that it’s not necessarily because you got less sleep. In fact, it has more to do with where you are in your sleep cycle when you wake up.

In this article, we explore the phases of your natural sleep cycle, when to sleep, and how to wake up refreshed. We look at how many hours of sleep are recommended and how to use a sleep cycle calculator  to find the best time to wake up.

How To Find Your Best Sleep Cycle: Polyphasic Biphasic And Monophasic Sleep

  • There are three types of sleep cycles—monophasic, biphasic, and polyphasic
  • While most of the world embraces a monophasic, get-8-hours-a-night approach to sleep, that might not be the best sleep cycle for you and your individual needs
  • Most experts believe our ancestors practiced a biphasic sleep cycle
  • There are certain steps you can take to make your environment more sleep-friendly and get better shut-eye—no matter what sleep cycle you follow

When you think of getting a good night’s sleep, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Most of the conversation around proper sleep centers around the number of hours you’re getting . But while logging eight hours of sleep every night might be a great fit for your body — leaving you feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to take on the day — there’s no one-size-fits-all-solution to sleep. The best sleep schedule for you and your body might fall outside conventional parameters.

The good news is, when it comes to sleep, you’ve got options. Let’s take a look at the three most common sleep cycles—and how to determine which is going to give you the high-quality zzz’s to function at your highest level.

Get The Right Amount Of Sleep To Boostperformance + Positivity

Recent studies have proven that those who sleep well are more alert and have higher cognitive processing. They also noticed these positive symbols more often, leading to a more positive outlook. This can easily be translated to the workplace where communication and positivity are the key to a great work environment. This means that your most comfortable bed could be a key component to getting the job you want and creating the happy life you dream of. Don’t let anxiety stop you from sleeping! Using a weighted blanket will help you fight insomnia caused due to anxiety.

Science Says This Is Exactly How To Nap To Be At Your Best

    Answer by Linh Nguyen, on Quora:

    It’s great to take naps during the day, but only if you do it correctly. It is much better to take naps than to stay awake for extended periods of time attempting to finish all your tasks, because, let’s face it, 8-9 hours of sleep a day is not always possible. Naps “reboot” your brain and help you approach your work with a fresh and clear state of mind.


    You can choose the length of your nap in order to cater to your specific need. Yes, how long you should nap is based on your reason for napping.

    The power nap is 10 to 20 minutes long. Take a power nap to quickly boost your energy and alertness. A power nap will help you get back to work right away. This is because this amount of sleep does not yet reach the deeper states of a sleep cycle and it should be easy to get up and work again. The napper stays in the lighter stages of NREM sleep.

    The most ideal nap is the 90-minute nap. Why? 90 minutes is the length of one full sleep cycle, which includes all the light and deep stages of sleep. A full sleep cycle nap improves procedural and emotional memory . A 90-minute nap can also significantly boost one’s creativity. Because the nap is a full sleep cycle, waking up should come much easier.

    There are optimal times for napping throughout the day that depend on the time you wake up in the morning. If at all possible, try to plan your naps during these times.

    How Do I Make Sure My Baby Gets The Right Amount Of Sleep


    Overstimulation during the day can cause your baby to either sleep too little or sleep when they should be eating, due to exhaustion. Newborn babies need to be fed frequently to ensure proper development.

    If your newborn baby becomes overtired they will become fussy, and harder to settle for sleep. We’ve given age-targeted tips to help avoid overstimulation and improve your baby’s sleep in the sleep schedules below. For more information on how much sleep your baby needs and how long they should be sleeping at a time read How Much Do Newborns Sleep?

    Learning your baby’s sleep cycle

    While your baby has your nose or eyes, the two of you couldn’t be farther apart when it comes to sleep cycle! The main reason your newborn’s sleep patterns are unpredictable is because of their evolving sleep cycle.

    Adults can easily pass from one sleep cycle into the next without completely waking up. Newborns, however, don’t stay in deep sleep for long periods at a time, so they are more susceptible to frequent wake-ups. Our post, Your Baby’s Sleep Cycle, explains more in-depth about how your baby’s sleep cycle is linked to their sleep patterns.

    To learn more about the changes to your baby’s sleep cycle and how to cope with sleep regression, read our post 10 Tips to Surviving the 4 Month Sleep Regression.


    What Are The Symptoms Of A Messed Up Circadian Rhythm

    Being sleepy is the most notable symptom, but there are others, too. Having an inconsistent schedule can lead to something called circadian-rhythm sickness.

    Here is a list of symptoms:

    • Sleepiness
    • Depression
    • Metabolic syndromes and weight gain

    Again, the circadian rhythm controls a variety of biological functions, not just sleep. Therefore, adjusting it in a way that isn’t consistent with natural patterns can cause a long list of issues and ailments.

    What Are The Benefits Of Getting A Good Night’s Sleep

    First off, sleep gets a lot of hype because it is linked to a multitude of health benefits. In fact, it’s a fundamental aspect of daily health. Everything we do in a day burns energy. If we take the dog for a walk or go to the gym for a quick exercise we use up glucose stores exerting energy that needs to be replenished. Even thinking through serious issues can exert a toll as our brain is designed to use up energy as well. 

    This energy gets replenished primarily through two methods, nutrition and rest. Our bodies weren’t designed to just keep running and running without fuel and proper rest. If we don’t give our bodies proper nutrition and rest, they won’t continue operating at maximum efficiency.

    No matter your lifestyle, you have most likely experienced what it’s like to hit a brick wall with your energy. This is that moment when you are just going about your business and the next minute nothing on Earth sounds better than a nap. 

    Sleep isn’t just about gaining energy and keeping the yawns at bay. This fundamental part of our daily experience has been linked by multiple studies to have a positive impact on all of these systems and areas of our body:

    • Cardiovascular health
    • Tissue regeneration 
    • Appetite 

    So now that we know a little more about the known benefits of sleep and why we should be prioritizing it — let’s take a closer look at what happens when we sleep. 

    If Your Toddler Still Wakes Up All Through The Night

    …he’s not learned how to stitch his sleep cycles together. ‘Check that your baby isn’t overtired, isn’t hungry and his room is dark, quiet and at the right temperature,’ says Lucy. ‘If all those things are in place, but he’s still only napping through one sleep cycle, then you need to spend seven days – in a row – using my stay-and-support method to encourage him to keep sleeping. The details are in my book, but it’s a low-key way of gently teaching him to settle himself. I recommend spending 30-40 minutes each day trying to get him back to sleep after he wakes at the end of the first sleep cycle.’

    Exploring Monophasic Through To Uberman Sleep Cycles

    According to the National Sleep Foundation, 85% of mammals sleep in polyphasic patterns, meaning that they sleep in portions throughout the day. The vast majority of humans, however, are monophasic. But is a one block sleeping pattern always best for us? Read on to find out whether a biphasic or uberman sleeping pattern would be more suitable.

    If You Cant Predict How Long Your Baby Will Nap For

    …his sleep cycles are erratic. ‘Whatever age your baby, if his nap length is unpredictable it shows that there’s a sleep issue going on,’ says Lucy. ‘And your baby’s sleep cycles have probably become erratic because he’s overtired.’ That sounds contradictory, but babies have a stress response to being tired. Their brain thinks there must be a reason why they need to stay awake, so it releases the hormone cortisol, which has a stimulating ‘wake-up’ effect. That makes it harder for babies to get to sleep and to stay asleep, which leads to broken nights, tricky nap times and out-of-sync sleep cycles.

    ‘Dealing with this starts at bedtime,’ says Lucy, ‘because it’s at night that your baby will get most of his sleep, which sets his sleep cycles up for the next 24 hours. So, if you can get the night-time sorted, it becomes easier to resolve the day-time sleep.’ Plus, it’s in the early part of the night – up until midnight – that your baby spends most of his sleep cycle in deep, brain-soothing slumber. So, you need to:

    Babies Under 6 Months: When And How Much They Sleep

    NewbornsNewborns sleep on and off during the day and night. They sleep for 14-17 hours every 24 hours.

    They have two different kinds of sleep – active sleep and quiet sleep. In active sleep your baby moves around. You might see jerking, twitching or sucking. In quiet sleep your baby is still and breathing evenly.

    Newborns move through active and quiet sleep in cycles that last about 50-60 minutes. They might wake up after a sleep cycle and need help getting back to sleep.

    Babies 3-6 monthsBy three months, babies start to develop night and day sleep patterns, and they tend to start sleeping more during the night. Babies usually sleep for 12-15 hours every 24 hours.

    At 3-6 months, babies might start moving towards a pattern of 2-3 daytime sleeps of up to two hours each. They might still wake at least once at night.

    If Your Baby Never Naps For Longer Than 30 Minutes

    …he’s not completing a full sleep cycle. ‘At the age of six months, a full sleep cycle is 40–50 minutes,’ says Lucy. ‘So, a 30-minute nap isn’t long enough for your baby to get the rest he needs. The first nap of the day might well be a short one: 40 minutes is adequate. But at least one of his naps – the late morning or early afternoon nap – should be over an hour long.’ To help your baby learn to sleep through a full cycle…

    • Separate feeds from nap time: ‘A regular feeding schedule supports good sleep,’ says Lucy. ‘Your baby needs to have a full tummy before he goes to sleep, so he isn’t waking up with hunger pangs. But he needs time to digest his feed before he goes to sleep – about 45 minutes before a nap and two hours before bedtime – so his stomach is relaxed.’ Leave some time between waking up and feeding, too: ‘Otherwise you might disrupt his sleep cycles because you’re encouraging him to wake up for food,’ says Lucy.
    • Have a really dark sleep environment: ‘To sleep well, babies need to be in a dark environment,’ says Lucy. ‘Use a black-out blind for day time sleeps as well as at night time. It can make the difference between your baby sleeping for less than one sleep cycle, or staying asleep for two.’
    • Nap at home: ‘Once your baby’s sleep patterns start to mature , try to limit the amount of time he naps on the move,’ says Lucy. ‘When he’s napping on the move, his brain stays in the lighter sleep phase and can’t cycle through into deep, restorative sleep.’

    Polyphasic Sleep Cycles You May Not Have Heard Of

    Sleep Cycle App Review

    Most Americans sleep monophasically, or in one big chunk of sleep . It’s the way that our parents taught us and the way that society functions on a day to day basis. We sleep at night, work during the day. But if we didn’t have jobs or parents to influence us, would we sleep another way?

    Studies have shown that when people are put into an environment that lacks any indication of time, they naturally fall into the biphasic sleep pattern. Biphasic sleeping occurs when you sleep in one big chunk of time followed by a subsequent smaller nap during the day. This is my preferred way to ensure that I get enough sleep, but for some people, even a midday nap sounds like an alternative way of sleeping.

    Even more alternative than that, there are a few types of polyphasic sleep styles that exist. Polyphasic sleep cycles use multiple naps instead of just one nap like the biphasic type of sleep.

    Before you completely dismiss these sleep styles as crazy, Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison are all said to have been Polyphasic sleepers. Perhaps the extra time awake is what led them to become some of the most creative and intelligent minds in history.

    There are 3 basic types of polyphasic sleep cycles which are as follows:.

    Everyman Sleep Cycle — Probably the easiest to adjust to, it consists of one larger portion of sleep and three smaller nap periods. The large portion of sleep is 3.5 hours and the naps are about 20 minutes .


    Baby Sleep Cycles: What Is An Infant Sleep Cycle

    An infant sleep cycle describes the stages of sleep an infant experiences during one period of sleep. The world cycle is used because the same stages of sleep are repeated over and over again.

    This is the same for adults; we also experience sleep cycles. However babies are not born with the same sleep cycles as us. This post will give you a good overview of what a baby sleep cycle consists of, how long a sleep cycle lasts and how these change as your baby grows.

    What Is The Best Nap Length When Sleep Deprived

    Being sleep deprived can occur for many reasons, your neighbor having a house party, jet lag, or illness. The best nap length when sleep-deprived is 90 minutes but can be stretched to 120 minutes without hurting your nighttime sleep. 

    If insomnia is forcing you to take naps every day, it might be time to make some lifestyle changes. Insomnia can have a huge impact on your physical health and wellbeing and can make you ill. A diet of healthy food, regular exercise, and lots of fresh air can help you sleep better and make you feel good. That doesn’t mean you never treat yourself, you can still have that slice of cake and milky coffee on occasion.   

    What Does A Polyphasic Sleep Schedule Look Like

    There are numerous ways to adopt a polyphasic sleep schedule. For somebody traveling across multiple time zones, it might involve resting during layovers or flights. For a student cramming for an exam, it might involve a series of short naps whenever they lose focus.

    A number of set polyphasic schedules have become popularized on the internet among people looking to “hack” their sleep. The following are three of the most common.

    How Do I Use The Nectar Sleep Cycle Calculator

    The Nectar sleep calculator is simple to use and a great solution for a better night’s sleep. The sleep cycle calculator tracks different stages of your sleep and only wakes you during your lightest stage. It’s an ideal alarm clock that won’t jerk your out of your stage 4 deep sleep or disorientate you from your REM. We highly recommend giving it a try!

    How To Transition To A Better Sleeping Pattern

  • Measure the length of your sleep cycle. 90 minutes is a good average, but for some people it is different. Mine has actually changed in the last few years from 90 to about 75. Now, if I hit the pillow at 7:00, I wake up for the first time at 8:15. Never, ever using an alarm clock. Because of the change in sleep cycle length, I now get 4 cycles per day. Usually three late at night, and one in the evening.
  • The key thing is, it MUST be divided up into two distinct sleep sessions per day. It’s not enough to just get 4.5 hours and say “that’s my sleep done for today”. You’ll have a hard time staying awake for the remaining 19+ hours. You’ve got to divide it into two sleep sessions if possible. The REM sleep you achieve has to be spaced throughout the day for it to have the proper “flushing” effect. A noon nap or evening brief 90 seconds before your late and last set of cycles for the day.
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    How Long Should Your Baby Sleep At Every Stage

    The amount of time your baby spends sleeping will vary from day to day and will change as he gets older. The newborn and baby sleep chart below can help you get a better idea of how long your baby’s sleep cycles may last, the average amount of time he will sleep in a 24-hour period, and how many naps he will typically take.

    Making The Most Of Your 90 Minute Sleep Cycle


    Contrary to popular belief, throughout a full night of sleep, we don’t cycle through the above phases in consecutive order repeatedly. A full night of sleep usually looks more like the diagram below, which contributes to the slightly varied duration of a sleep cycle. 



    To understand or optimize your own sleep cycle, we always recommend using a sleep tracker. You can also find out more about when you should go to bed or wake up, or read more about alternative sleep schedules.

    Napping Vs Sleeping What Are The Differences

    The Complete Guide To Your Sleep Cycle

    The most significant difference between a nap and sleep is the duration. Naps are helpful for a quick recharge, whereas sleep works as a complete reset. Resting for a shorter duration to feel energized for a temporary period is called a nap—sleeping includes resting for long hours, typically 6 to 8 hours. 

    When you sleep, you go through all the stages of a sleep cycle, more than once. On the other hand, while taking a nap, you do not go through all the steps. 

    How To Take A Nap Without Ruining Your Sleep

    Cue collective sigh of relief: You can rejoice in the fact that it is possible to enjoy an afternoon snooze and not feel like you ruined your sleep cycle for the next five days.  

    While some people — as noted above — should generally avoid naps, with the right strategy, most people can savor an afternoon nap and still get quality shut-eye when the world goes dark. Here are seven do’s and don’ts to keep in mind before your next nap. 

    Scheduled Napping To Achieve More Time Awake

    There is an active community that experiments with alternative sleeping schedules to achieve more time awake each day, but the effectiveness of this is disputed.

    Researcher Piotr Wo?niak argues that the theory behind severe reduction of total sleep time by way of short naps is unsound, and that there is no brain control mechanism that would make it possible to adapt to the “multiple naps” system. Wo?niak expresses concern that the ways in which the polyphasic sleepers’ attempt to limit total sleep time, restrict time spent in the various stages of the sleep cycle, and disrupt their circadian rhythms will eventually cause them to suffer the same negative effects as those with other forms of sleep deprivation or circadian rhythm sleep disorder. Wo?niak claims to have scanned the blogs of polyphasic sleepers and found that they have to choose an “engaging activity” again and again just to stay awake and that polyphasic sleep does not improve one’s learning ability or creativity.

    How Long Should A Nap Be For Adults Vs Kids

    • 0-6 Months: two to three naps per day
    • 6-12 Months: two naps per day
    • 1-3 Years: one nap per day
    • 3-5 Years: one nap per day
    • 5-12 Years: none required if sleeping 10-11 hours per night
    • Healthy adults who sleeps well at night doesn’t need to nap but can benefit from the occasional power nap
    • Seniors benefit from an hour snooze in the afternoon   

    How Long Should I Nap To Wake Up Refreshed

    Some people wake up, get going and keep going until they hit the bed at night. Others find that a catnap sometime around 2pm refreshes and keeps them going until late. If that is the case, then you may ask for how long should you take your obligatory forty winks?

    There is no rule. The general consensus is that you can close your eyes and relax for about a half hour at the most. It is important not to fall into deep slumber, and that can leave you feeling groggy.  Set the alarm for your snooze.  However, some experts are of the opinion that 90 minutes is the ideal time because the body gets sufficient time to complete one sleep cycle. Doze for 90 minutes, and you wake up absolutely refreshed, and it also boosts creativity.

    Why this is ideal can be best understood by knowing about stages of sleep.

    • Stage one is when sleep sets in and the brain generate alpha and theta waves. This stage lasts seven minutes, and when you wake up, you have just had a catnap.
    • During stage two the brain wave frequency increases and slows down. Wake up after stage two, and it is best because you feel refreshed.
    • The third and fourth stages are deep sleep during which the brain produces slower delta waves, and it is difficult to wake up. If you do, you feel lethargic.

    REM sleep occurs 90 minutes after falling asleep, and there can be several cycles during the night. You dream.

    The Overwhelming Benefits Of Power Napping

    Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.


    While small children typically take naps in the afternoon, adult naps generally tend to be less frequent; however, even in those who get enough sleep , many people experience a natural increase in drowsiness in the afternoon, about 8 hours after waking. And research shows that you can make yourself more alert, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning with a nap.?? Mid-day sleep, or a ‘power nap’, means more patience, less stress, better reaction time, increased learning, more efficiency, and better health. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of sleep and how a power nap can help you!

    Rule 1 Power Napping Is Not For Everyone

    Sorry, but a power nap doesn’t work for all of us. If you suffer from insomnia or have trouble sleeping at night, power napping is probably a bad idea. It can confuse your body clock, disrupt an already dysfunctional routine and you could be staring at the ceiling until the wee small hours. Make sure your power napping routine isn’t affecting your nightly sleep negatively, by tracking your sleep patterns with Sleep Cycle.

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