Could Napping Be Hurting Your Sleep?
Napping can take on many forms. From the 20-minute power nap to the luxurious 90-minute siesta, daytime snoozing might be the boost you need to make up for lost sleep. But you might be wondering: How often should you do it? How much time should you spend doing it? And when is too much napping reason for concern? A good start for learning more about napping and sleep in general is by downloading the free SleepScore App.
One quarter of Americans have trouble sleeping
In today’s busy world, getting enough sleep can be challenging. More than 25% of Americans report having trouble sleeping at night. Not surprisingly, about one-third of Americans report taking a nap during a typical day. Experts agree that if you’re napping more than 4 times per day or for more than 100 minutes at once, this could be a sign of poor nighttime sleep quality. But if you find yourself in need of a short nap every so often, rest assured that you can gain some great benefits.
Napping can increase alertness and performance; just ask the sleepy military pilots and NASA astronauts who showed improvements in both after napping. Catching some daytime ZZZs can also consolidate learning and motor skills. A group of jugglers showed more mastery of the complex skill after napping compared to jugglers who didn’t get to snooze. And if you’re just looking to boost your mood, a power nap can help with that too! Many more sleep tips can be found in the free SleepScore App.

Woman Napping 960

Could napping hurt your sleep?
Despite these benefits, napping isn’t the cure-all for true sleep deprivation. Experts recommend limiting naps to 20 minutes and avoiding napping too closely to bedtime. Napping for longer than 20 minutes or just before bed can leave you feeling groggy or disrupt your internal clock. Too much daytime sleep might leave you tossing and turning at night instead of getting the restful sleep you need.
In sum, short naps are a great way to boost your energy, mood, and performance, but naps should not replace or interfere with your regular sleep schedule.

Napping truth

Handy hacks for better napping
  • Sleep causes your muscles to relax. If you’re crunched for time and needing a snooze, try holding your car keys in one hand and lying your head down on your crossed arms atop a desk or table. When you pass into deeper sleep, your hand will relax and the sound of your keys dropping will wake you up!
  • If you’re looking for an extra boost, try quickly drinking a cup of drip coffee and napping for 20 minutes. You’ll wake up just in time for the caffeine to kick in!

References:

Morita, Y., Ogawa, K., Uchida, S. (2016). Napping after complex motor learning enhances juggling performance. Sleep Science, 9(2), 112-116. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5021952/

“Napping.” National Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping/page/0/1
Ohayon et al., (2017). National Sleep Foundation’s sleep quality recommendations: First report. Sleep Health, 3, 6-19.

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