Napping: Do's and don'ts for healthy adults

Napping isn't just for children. Understand the pros and cons of napping and the best way to take a nap. By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you're sleep deprived or just looking for a way to relax, you might be thinking about taking a nap. Napping at the wrong time of day or for too long can backfire, though. Understand how to get the most out of a nap.

What are the benefits of napping?

Napping offers various benefits for healthy adults, including:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Improved performance, including quicker reaction time, better memory, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes

What are the drawbacks to napping?

Napping isn't for everyone. Some people have trouble sleeping in places other than their own beds, while others simply can't sleep during the day. Napping can also have negative effects, such as:

  • Sleep inertia. You might feel groggy and disoriented after waking up from a nap.
  • Nighttime sleep problems. Short naps generally don't affect nighttime sleep quality for most people. However, if you experience insomnia or poor sleep quality at night, napping might worsen these problems. Long naps might interfere with nighttime sleep.
Nov. 21, 2012 See more In-depth