Nap happy

Categories: News  /  Research

pretty young girl sleeping or napping with hat over her face holding book or novel in park enjoying tranquility and lying relaxed on rug over green grass wearing a springtime dress

For some, the midday call of the hammock or daybed is too tempting to resist. But is an afternoon nap good for you?

For those who don’t get enough nighttime sleep — which is most of us — it would seem to make sense. But in fact, the research into napping has presented a mixed picture.

Sleep, of course, is vital for good health — both physical and mental. It keeps you alert and focused. It helps process memories. It may even boost your body’s natural defenses, protecting you from illness.

But studies looking just at napping have shown some benefits. Naps may ease stress and make us more alert. It may improve our emotions — with one study finding naps reducing feelings of frustration or acting impulsively.

Some other studies have suggested daytime naps might be bad, associated with a shortened life span — particularly for those who nap more than an hour a day. That might be that people who nap more have serious health problems, or may not sleep well at night — which by itself can have negative health consequences.

It’s probably not the best way to make up for lost sleep, since napping usually doesn’t include cycles of deep sleep — the most restorative kind.

Yet naps are part of many cultures around the world. And experts recommend naps for those who work night shifts, have jet lag or suffer from narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.

If you do decide to hit the hay with the sun shining, you might want to consider these tips:

  • Limit naps to 20 to 30 minutes. Longer naps can leave you groggy— which can make you more likely to make mistakes or have accidents shortly after waking up.
  • Don’t nap after 3 p.m. Naps later in the day may interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.
  • Nap in a quiet, dark and comfortable place. Limit distractions by turning off your cell phone, computer, and TV.

For more information on this or other health topics, visit University Health System’s Health Library.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Featured Video

Upcoming Events

  • Wed
    29
    Nov
    2017
    6 p.m. - 7 p.m.University Hospital, 4502 Medical Drive

    Take a tour of University Hospital's Labor & Delivery floor and learn what to expect on the big day. On this one-hour tour, you will tour our Labor & Delivery Unit, tour our Mother/Baby Unit, visit our newborn nursery and review hospital policies. To reserve a place, call 210-358-1617 or email Childbirthed@uhs-sa.com. Take the C elevator to the 4th floor and check in with our Admissions team. Please arrive by 5:45 p.m. This tour is offered in English and Spanish. Please e-mail Childbirth Education at Childbirthed@uhs-sa.com regarding availability for other languages.

  • Mon
    04
    Dec
    2017
    4 p.m.-5 p.m. University Hospital, 4502 Medical Drive

    Encino Room. Stop the Bleed is a nationwide campaign aimed at teaching everyone how to stop bleeding and save lives in an emergency. No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene. A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes, so it is important to quickly stop the blood loss. Armed with a little knowledge, a family member, coworker or even a bystander can be the difference between life and death. Attend to one of our classes to learn some very simple actions you can take to help save a life. To register, email StopTheBleed@uhs-sa.com.