HERTFORDSHIRE, England — Many people turn to “power naps” in the afternoon as a quick means of re-boosting energy levels, but it turns out they may provide other benefits. Napping for less than 30 minutes a day may make you happier, a new study finds.
Psychologist Richard Wiseman, a professor at the University of Hertfordshire, surveyed 1,000 people on their happiness levels and categorized them based on whether or not they napped. People who didn’t nap at all were dubbed “No Nappers”; those who napped for under 30 minutes were labeled “Short Nappers”; and anyone who snoozed for more than 30 minutes was considered a “Long Napper.”
Wiseman determined that 66% of the Short Nappers classified themselves as happy, compared to just 56% of Long Nappers and 60% of No Nappers.
“Previous research has shown that naps of under 30 minutes make you more focused, productive and creative, and these new findings suggest the tantalising possibility that you can also become happier by just taking a short nap,” says Wiseman in a university news release. “Similarly longer napping is associated with several health risks and again, this is in line with our results.”
Interestingly, the youngest participants — those 18 to 30 — may be the least happy of the group. Forty-three percent indicated that they regularly took the potentially-unhealthy longer naps, as opposed to 30% of participants over 50.
Wiseman also adds that only about 1 in 10 participants were allowed to nap at work, though more than half said they wouldn’t mind the option. He suggests more employers consider giving their employees rest during the day as a way to boost productivity — and now, make them even happier on the job.
Wiseman presented his findings earlier this month at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.