When should I consider a nap?
You might consider making time for a nap if you:
- Experience new fatigue or unexpected sleepiness
- Are about to experience sleep loss, for example, due to a long work shift
- Want to make planned naps part of your daily routine
Could a sudden increased need for naps indicate a health problem?
If you're experiencing an increased need for naps and there's no obvious cause of new fatigue in your life, talk to your doctor. You could be taking a medication or have a sleep disorder or other medical condition that's disrupting your nighttime sleep.
What's the best way to take a nap?
To get the most out of a nap, follow these tips:
- Keep naps short. Aim to nap for only 10 to 30 minutes. The longer you nap, the more likely you are to feel groggy afterward.
- Take naps in the afternoon. The best time for a nap is usually midafternoon, around 2 or 3 p.m. This is the time of day when you might experience post-lunch sleepiness or a lower level of alertness. In addition, naps taken during this time are less likely to interfere with nighttime sleep. Keep in mind, however, that individual factors — such as your need for sleep and your sleeping schedule — also can play a role in determining the best time of day to nap.
- Create a restful environment. Nap in a quiet, dark place with a comfortable room temperature and few distractions.
After napping, be sure to give yourself time to wake up before resuming activities — particularly those that require a quick or sharp response.
Oct. 03, 2015
See more In-depth
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- Lau H, et al. Daytime napping: Effects on human direct associative and relational memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 2010;93:554.
- What are sleep deprivation and deficiency? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd. Accessed Sept. 10, 2015.
- Your guide to healthy sleep. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/links. Accessed Sept. 10, 2015.
- Milner CE, et al. Benefits of napping in healthy adults: Impact of nap length, time of day, age, and experience with napping. Journal of Sleep Research. 2009;18:272.
- Goldman SE, et al. Association between nighttime sleep and napping in older adults. Sleep. 2008;31:733.
- Cirelli C. Sleep insufficiency: Definition, consequences, and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 10, 2015.
- Dhand R, et al. Good sleep, bad sleep! The role of daytime naps in healthy adults. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. 2006;12:379.