We asked five experts: should we nap during the day?

Five experts have their say.

Should you nap during the day?

Alexandra Hansen, The Conversation

Often during the day I feel the need to have a bit of a lie-down. Whether it’s been a busy day, I didn’t sleep well the night before, or for no particular reason I know of. But some will warn that you’ll be ruined for sleep that night if you nap during the day.

We asked five experts if we should nap during the day.

Four out of five experts said yes

Here are their detailed responses:


If you have a “yes or no” health question you’d like posed to Five Experts, email your suggestion to: alexandra.hansen@theconversation.edu.au


None of the authors have any interests or affiliations to declare.The Conversation

Alexandra Hansen, Chief of Staff, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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    Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.





    COMMENTS

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    Karl Marx
    16th Jun 2019
    10:23am
    Power naps are good, revitalises me. Only need 5 to 20 mins. Also helps having narcolepsy as I can nod of anywhere, waiting rooms, airports etc lol
    Tom Tank
    16th Jun 2019
    10:39am
    A short nap can be, in my experience, a really good revitaliser. It is, needless to say, not something to do while driving or operating machinery.
    Tom Tank
    16th Jun 2019
    10:39am
    A short nap can be, in my experience, a really good revitaliser. It is, needless to say, not something to do while driving or operating machinery.
    Hardworker
    16th Jun 2019
    11:04am
    As we can see the so-called "experts" are undecided so I really don't know why they even bother studying the subject as it is obviously too complex and very individual. What we all need to do is study our own body patterns and work out what works for us as we all have our own individual DNA. Listening to these so-called experts just makes us worry whether we are doing the right thing or not and worry is actually detrimental to the whole issue. Your body will tell you whether it is right for you or not and this will also change from time to time and certainly with age, so be flexible. Each day is different from the next so our body may need catnaps to catch up if we have had a particularly bad night previously. Comments already posted indicate power naps are good for some people or at certain times for anyone.
    *Loloften*
    18th Jun 2019
    6:52am
    Hardworker - these so called experts have to publish a research finding annually or won't get their usual annual research $s the following yr. Simple example - eggs were published as not good for us re cholesterol in yolks, then refuted yr after saying it's OK to have one daily & now they're not good daily!? Similar "research" findings re aspirin/meat/full cream milk etc etc...just listen to your body. It's all abt money.
    iday
    16th Jun 2019
    11:20am
    I was still working at 73, on at 15:00 and off at 22:00. When I was in my late 60's I started feeling very tired and sleepy around 21:00, so much so that I had to concentrate really hard in writing my documentation before knocking off. This was the time I started having a lie down after lunch. It helped a lot and did not ruin my sleep at night.
    Wince
    16th Jun 2019
    12:16pm
    Wow Hardworker, you're obviously a "so-called expert" on everything.
    Having read the posts and knowing something about the subject myself, what they say is spot-on and reflects the complexity and individual difference that you allude to, except that they have done the scientific research to back them up, rather than just referring to comments on a blog. So they can describe why "individual DNA" has the effect it does and why and how the body communicates its needs.
    The "undecided" aspect you refer to reflects different contexts if you read their detailed responses. Napping is a great tool, but not when it impacts on the ability to obtain sufficient deep sleep (as you note by mentioning "a particularly bad night"). Power naps can never replace an adequate sleep period (based on individual chronotype) for both physical and mental function.
    Hardworker
    16th Jun 2019
    1:47pm
    All comments on the site Wince are those of the individual, qualified or not, and you should know that. So you're the "expert" now are you? And what qualifications did you say you have? The scientific research still doesn't make the experts agree. You could go to 20 other "experts" and they would all disagree as well. I stand by what I said. You are better off working out for yourself what works for you. It is easy to tell from your comments that you don't actually know as much about the subject as you think you do.
    McGroger
    16th Jun 2019
    4:51pm
    I don’t see any disagreement at all between the experts; to me they all say the same thing in different words:
    “Aim for adequate nighttime sleep, but If you are not getting enough sleep at night, a short nap of up to about half an hour, not too close to bedtime, is good for you.”
    Wince
    17th Jun 2019
    9:27am
    You're entitled to your individual view, but you do not have the right to call people who actually have knowledge in the area "so-called experts". It either shows extraordinary arrogance or ignorance - most likely both given your obvious lack of understanding of the nature of science. But it's good that you feel you can work things out for yourself - good luck with that.

    One thing we do agree on is that each person has their own genetic predisposition, culture, working habits, etc. that impact on sleep. However, there are fundamentals of brain function where the research is quite definitive - sad that you missed out on some of them, based on your posts.

    I define an expert as someone who knows more and more about less and less. I've taken the view over my career that we're always learning (and there's always much more to learn and add to the body of knowledge in science). Keeps one grounded and less likely to make unfounded comments like you have. That does not mean however that people who are qualified and have done extensive research in their chosen field are not very knowledgeable.

    If it's so "...easy to tell" that I don't know much about the subject, please demonstrate where my comments or those of the researchers are incorrect by referring to appropriate peer-reviewed research. The fact that you have not indicates that you're only qualified to talk about what works for you, and not to make negative remarks about others or the extensive science in the area.

    Since you asked, my dissertation was followed by a (hardworking) research career in neuroscience over many years before I retired. What are your credentials in this area?

    Eagerly await your next reply - each time you write, you indicate by your snide remarks that you're just a troll.
    adbob
    16th Jun 2019
    12:31pm
    There's a lot written in these threads about working part-time in retirement. People most obviously think of things like using the practical experience they've gained over the years in the building trade to make them one of those all-knowing assistants at Bunnings - that sort of thing.

    Not me - not now - not after having read all this anyway.

    Sleep researcher - that's the next gig for me.

    That's unless some more interesting opening arises in the (seemingly ever-growing) researcher trade - sex researcher - beer researcher etc.
    shirboy
    16th Jun 2019
    1:52pm
    I don't normally need to sleep during the afternoon. On the very odd occasion that I did was because I felt that I just couldn't keep my eyes open !
    Charlie
    16th Jun 2019
    5:29pm
    It depends on what age a person is, their morning activity, their personal needs for bed rest and more.
    How can this be reduced to a yes or no answer.
    Some people feel good after a mid day siesta others feel terrible and need to do coffee and breakfast again.
    Aviatorman
    16th Jun 2019
    5:45pm
    Now in my later years, I too find a nap for 10 mins gets me back to normal. Question is why.? Especially as the frequency seems to be increasing. Is it or could it be related to more fatty substances in the blood stream, which makes you go unconscious (sleep) so easily. Are we victims of the good life with tasty foods and chocolate and all things nice, with less physical activity.?
    Karl Marx
    16th Jun 2019
    11:33pm
    Just a side note, many countries actually have a sleep in the afternoons as part of their culture, siesta time.
    Taragosun
    17th Jun 2019
    11:01am
    The only time I can sleep during the day is if I am really sick .. maybe once every 10 years or so. When I had migraines, before menopause, a migraine tablet, cold compress on the forehead and an hours sleep cured them, but that was not because I was tired. Can't sleep in cars, can't sleep on planes.
    Libby
    17th Jun 2019
    11:52pm
    Yes, I had a lot of migraines due to seasonal changes. I knew when it was going to rain! This is the time when you HAVE to sleep. Thank goodness it has stopped, just stopped!

    If you need to nap during the day, don't fight it, just do it, then you'll wake up refreshed. Cat naps are so quick! I looked at the clock before going off to sleep and it was only 5 minutes! It felt like 30 minutes. I was able to concentrate on my computer and remember what I needed to do.

    I saw a tip that carbohydrates make you very sleepy. If you can't sleep at night have a slice of bread with your favourite spread and warm milk. We are all different and no such "experts" will tell me otherwise.
    *Loloften*
    18th Jun 2019
    6:42am
    Fell asleep upright on couch ard 10.30pm when watching TV - woke up approx 2hrs later & now wide awake. Thankfully have nothing on today, can sleep another 4hrs soon, after catching up on e-mails such as this et al & completed catch-up on FB after none done for more than a wk. Sleep's over-rated imho - apparently I drove my Mum crazy as a toddler/child teen as rarely slept more than 6hrs. Now as a senior, still only sleep approx 5-6hrs daily/nightly & am very healthy in my old age. Refuse to take sleeping pills/any pills.
    Florgan
    18th Jun 2019
    5:05pm
    Power naps for 15 minutes are excellent.
    wolf
    22nd Jun 2019
    3:21pm
    My naturopath says absolutely lying totally flat can help reset cortisol. I put on a meditation tap, lie on my shatsi mat for about 15 minutes. So relaxing.
    wolf
    22nd Jun 2019
    3:21pm
    My naturopath says absolutely lying totally flat can help reset cortisol. I put on a meditation tap, lie on my shatsi mat for about 15 minutes. So relaxing.


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