How to Take a Better Nap Without Compromising Your Nightly Sleep

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Here’s how to build a better nap.

We’ve all been there—passed out on the couch after a long ride, drool dripping from the corner of the mouth. Few things are more satisfying than a nap after a long, hard workout. It’s easy to assume simple fatigue is the sole reason we conk out, but there’s much more at play, says Dr. Amy Bender, Clinical Program Director of Athlete Services at the Center for Sleep & Human Performance.

“Naps are the body’s way to facilitate physical recovery after a long or hard workout,” says Bender. “During sleep, different hormones are released such as testosterone and growth hormone which helps repair and build muscles and other tissues in the body.”

But this repair process doesn’t kick in the instant you close your eyes. To maximize the healing benefits of a midday snooze, the nap needs to be at least 45 minutes in duration. This…

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