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Are Afternoon Naps Bad for Your Health?

Published On 19 Mar 2021
Habits
Lifestyle
Written by
Team Setu
Written by
Team Setu

There’s no denying the fact that afternoon naps are amazing! And there’s nothing we wouldn’t give to get a few peaceful hours of sleep, while hearing the birds chirp outside the window, in the middle of work. The idea of noontime naps gets us all excited even as adults. However, there is a catch! Even though a short nap in the afternoon is something you can swear by and can talk endlessly about how it helps, there are a few disadvantages you must know about daytime napping. As much as it hurts us to speak ill of something that we all love so much, it is crucial that we let you know the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision, because your health is our priority. So, here are some disadvantages of sleeping in the afternoon.   

Napping Isn’t For Everyone 

While some find afternoon naps to be relaxing and refreshing, others may find it to be counterproductive. It can surely work as a quick remedy to get rid of the fatigue and lethargy, but may interfere with your natural nighttime sleep cycle. People who generally have trouble sleeping or staying asleep at night, like those suffering from insomnia, may want to steer clear from taking naps during the day [1]

 

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Sleep Inertia

Sleep inertia is the phenomenon of feeling disoriented, groggy or tired after waking up from a nice, long nap. This can be avoided by reducing the time of your naps. However, it cannot be guaranteed that you won’t feel grumpy and disoriented after shorter naps. Sleep inertia can interfere with your work and can increase the amount of time you require to get back and continue your day, affecting your productivity [1].

Naps Do Not Increase Alertness 

We have all heard about this but unfortunately, this is not true! A study done by NASA to understand the workings of naps, especially on astronauts, found that afternoon naps may benefit memory, but has no specific positive effect on vigilance and alertness [2].  

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Can Lead To Serious Health Issues

Studies show that taking naps for more than 30 minutes can pave way for serious health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome and more. Various other studies also show that regular napping over 60 minutes can increase the risks of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome by 50% and can increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases by nearly 82% [3].

Can Potentially Lower Life Expectancy

This may seem as a big claim, but the regular afternoon naps that last longer than an hour can have a serious impact on your health and can potentially lower your life expectancy. 

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Healthy Ways Of Napping [4]

Timing is extremely crucial when it comes to napping. So, here are some effective ways to ensure your naps are well-timed and healthy: 

  • Set An Alarm: Several studies have shown that naps that last between 10-20 minutes are healthy and provide restorative sleep that does not lead to sleep inertia or drowsiness after waking up. Therefore, ensure that you set a perfect alarm and end your nap on time. 
  • Nap Early: Napping later in the afternoon can interrupt your regular sleep cycle and make it difficult for you to sleep at night. Try and nap as early in the afternoon as possible and ensure that you don’t extend it over 20 minutes.  
  • Make A Nap-Friendly Environment: You may not always have a comfortable bed or mattress for you to nap on. Therefore, it is important to find a place that is dark, cool and quiet for a peaceful nap. 
  • Just Relax: Napping is for relaxing, if you keep thinking about your worries, it will be difficult for you to fall asleep and you may wake up grumpy. If you cannot let go of your concerns, try practicing meditation or some relaxation exercises, as they can help you feel refreshed and relaxed as well.  

References: 

  1. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/napping
  2. https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2005/03jun_naps
  3. https://vitalrecord.tamhsc.edu/long-naps-cause-health-issues/
  4. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/napping

Recommended Reads: 

How To Stop Snoring For Good Naturally?

Want To Boost Your Sex Drive? Sleep Might Be The Answer

Night Meditation Techniques To Help you Fall Asleep Fast

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