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The perfect midday snooze might not be a power nap

Wednesday - 9/4/2013, 7:25am  ET

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Researchers say a 10- to 20-minute power nap can work wonders for those seeking a burst of alertness. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - Most people don't get enough sleep at night, and a nap could be a way to make up the difference.

But sleep scientists say to think twice before snoozing. They tell The Wall Street Journal there is a science to figuring how and when to get a little midday shuteye, and the most useful nap depends on what the napper needs.

They say a 10- to 20-minute power nap can work wonders for those seeking a burst of alertness, while 60 minutes is best for those dealing with tasks that involve remembering details, such as names, dates and faces. Creative types do well with 90-minute naps because that is a full sleep cycle, which is said to spur creativity.

Many researchers point to the power nap as being the most beneficial overall and the most "bang for the buck." They also say there are some people who just never seem to benefit from naps at all.

These experts say it's best to nap between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Any later, and you might find yourself wide awake at night.

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