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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Is afternoon sleep good or bad?


Many people like to take a nap in the afternoon, especially after a heavy lunch. But is this habit good or bad for your health? The answer may depend on several factors, such as how long you nap, when you nap, and why you nap.


Some benefits of napping

Napping can have some benefits for your health and well-being, especially if you are sleep deprived or have irregular sleep patterns. Some of the benefits of napping are:

  • It can make you feel less sleepy and more alert, happy, and smart. This can be helpful if you have a hard job, study, or drive for long hours.

  • It can help you get some extra sleep if you did not get enough at night. This can be good for your immune system, metabolism, and memory.

  • It can give you some relaxation and stress relief, especially if you nap in a comfortable and quiet environment.


Some drawbacks of napping

However, napping can also have some drawbacks, especially if you nap too long, too late, or too often. Some of the drawbacks of napping are:

  • It can affect your nighttime sleep quality and quantity. This can lead to trouble falling asleep, less deep sleep, and messed up body clock. This can have bad effects on your health, such as increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

  • It can cause you to feel groggy, confused, and clumsy when you wake up. This is known as sleep inertia, and it can last from a few minutes to several hours. This can affect your performance, safety, and decision making.

  • It can be a sign of an underlying sleep problem or health problem. If you feel the need to nap during the day, even after getting enough sleep at night, you may have a condition that affects your sleep quality, such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or restless legs syndrome. You may also have a health issue that causes tiredness, such as anemia, thyroid dysfunction, or infection.


How to nap well

If you decide to take a nap during the day, here are some tips to make it more beneficial and less harmful:

  • Choose the right time. The best time to nap is in the early afternoon, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., when your body experiences a natural dip in alertness. This can help you avoid affecting your nighttime sleep and body clock. Avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening, as this can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

  • Keep it short. The best length of a nap depends on your individual needs and preferences, but generally, shorter naps are better than longer ones. A quick nap of 10 to 20 minutes can boost your energy, alertness, and mood, without causing sleep inertia or affecting your nighttime sleep. Longer naps of 30 minutes or more can lead to grogginess, sleep disruption, and health risks.

  • Set an alarm. To prevent sleeping too much, it is a good idea to set an alarm before you nap. This can help you wake up at the right time and avoid missing important appointments or tasks. You can also use a nap app or a smartwatch to monitor your sleep stages and wake you up at the best moment.

  • Get comfortable. To have a good quality nap, you need to find a quiet, cozy, and dark place where you will not be disturbed. You can also use earplugs, eye masks, blankets, or pillows to make yourself more comfortable. You can also adjust the temperature, ventilation, and humidity to your liking.

  • Examine your motivation. If you nap occasionally, for example, when you are jet-lagged, sick, or have a busy schedule, there is nothing to worry about. However, if you nap regularly, you should ask yourself why you feel the need to do so. Are you getting enough sleep at night? Are you sleeping well? Do you have a sleep problem or a health problem? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should consult your doctor and seek professional help.


Summary

Napping can be a useful and enjoyable habit, but it can also have some drawbacks. The effects of napping depend on how long, when, and why you nap. To make the most of your naps, you should follow some guidelines and pay attention to your sleep patterns and health. If you have any concerns or questions about your napping habits, you should talk to your doctor.


Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist


Kify Hospital

Danavaipeta

Rajahmundry

Phone : 85000 23456

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