To Nap, or Not to Nap; That is the Question

Sabbath restTo Nap, or Not to Nap; That is the Question

Every time I give a presentation on the subject of Sleep I field a question on napping. Naps are cherished by some, and an absolute necessity for others—especially new moms!

Let’s face it, if you could get a full night’s sleep (7-8 hours in a row) you would never need to nap. The question arises when you don’t sleep enough…or can’t.

Sleep experts are adamant about two aspects of napping. And their advice depends upon your particular circumstance.

First, if you struggle night after night with difficulty sleeping, then napping is not a good idea for you—even though you are dragging through the day. Regular “catch up on some sleep” napping will make it nearly impossible for you to ever acquire a full night of sleep. You are simply compounding your nighttime trial of getting to sleep or staying asleep all night long if you “flush out” your body’s sleepy hormones by daytime dozing. Sorry…

However, if you have gotten a poor night’s sleep for some reason (illness, busy brain, physical aches and pains, or your child had you up), feel free to take a nap—but Napper, beware! Sleep experts tell us that either a 15 min “cat nap” or a longer nap that allows you to sleep through an entire 90-minute sleep cycle will suit you best.

You know this last piece of advice is wise if you have ever woken up somewhere between 30 -90 minutes into your nap and felt as though someone had filled your head with cement. It can take a full hour for you to “get over” such an unproductive nap time!

Now that’s Zzzz inside scoop on what to do when you’re pooped. I do wish that you would always sleep well, but when you don’t—remember to nap responsibly.


To return to previous Monday Morning Health Tips, click here.