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Sleep - Effects of napping

Written by Dr. Anitha Paderla, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by dr. reeja tharu, M.Phil.,Ph.D on Jul 28, 2021
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Effects of napping

There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled. - Edward Lucas

Brief episodes of sleep that occur between the major sleep episodes are called ‘naps’. They vary in duration from five minutes to a few hours. The time that naps are most likely to occur is in the mid-afternoon, when there is a reduced degree of alertness due to the biphasic circadian pattern. Some cultures encourage a siesta in the mid-afternoon. Any daytime sleep, such as napping, will reduce sleep from the nighttime sleep episode, thereby leading to greater sleep disturbances.

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Naps that are taken at times when maximum alertness is to be expected, such as two hours after awakening, is indicative of an underlying sleep disorder. Mid- afternoon naps are of less significance. If a person wants to nap, then it must be done at the same time, and the duration of the nap should not vary each day, in order to prevent insomnia. One important advantage of napping is that even a 30-60min nap greatly helps a person counter sleep- loss.

In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge. - Colette

Reference:

  1. Huxley, Aldous. In Coren S. Sleep Thieves: An Eye-Opening Exploration into the Science and Mysteries of Sleep. New York: The Free Press; 1996, p. 175.

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