24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Most Americans Want to End Seasonal Time Changes: SurveyPandemic Putting Americans Under Great Mental Strain: PollAHA News: Your Pandemic Hobby Might Be Doing More Good Than You KnowHazardous Ingredients Make 'Smart Drug' Supplements a Not-So-Smart BuyAmericans Are Cutting Back on Sugary DrinksToo Much or Too Little Sleep Bad for Your BrainA Good Workout Could Boost Your Thinking for Up to 2 HoursSimply Smiling May Boost Your OutlookWho's Most Likely to Binge Eat Amid Pandemic?AHA News: In These Tough Times, Focus on ResilienceEating in the Evening Could Be Bad for Your HealthER Visits for E-Scooter Injuries Nearly Double in One YearCould Long Naps Shorten Your Life?Why Some Gifts Are Better-Received Than OthersBest Ways to Beat the HeatEducation Benefits the Brain Over a LifetimeAnother COVID Hazard: False InformationSocial Distancing? Your Paycheck Plays a RoleIs Your Home Workstation Hurting You?Many Stay Optimistic Until Old Age HitsMany Americans Pause Social Media as National Tensions RiseAfter Lockdown, Ease Back Into ExerciseFor a Longer Life, Any Exercise Is Good Exercise: StudyUnder 50 and Overweight? Your Odds for Dementia Later May RiseMore Americans Turning to Artificial Sweeteners, But Is That a Healthy Move?Don't Forget Good Sleep Habits During SummerExpert Tips to Help You Beat the HeatCould Vegetables Be the Fountain of Youth?AHA News: Enjoy a Nap, But Know the Pros and ConsCoffee: Good for You or Not?Keep Flossing: Study Ties Gum Disease to Higher Cancer RiskKnow Your Burn Risks This SummerYour Guide to Safer Dining During the PandemicGetting Your Protein From Plants a Recipe for LongevityHow to Protect Yourself From the Sun's Harmful UV RaysAHA News: Why Stay in Touch While Keeping Distant? It's Only HumanWorking Off Your Quarantine Weight GainAs REM Sleep Declines, Life Span SuffersFollow Exercise Guidelines and You'll Live Longer, Study SaysBiases Mean Men Dubbed 'Brilliant' More Often Than WomenFireworks Are Bad News for Your LungsPandemic Means More Backyard Fireworks This Year -- And More DangerA Safer 4th Is One Without Backyard FireworksSleeping In on Weekends Won't Erase Your 'Sleep Debt'As Pandemic Leads to Clearer Skies, Solar Energy Output RisesWhen Can Sports Fans Safely Fill Stadiums Again?AHA News: How to Stay Safe, Healthy and Cool This Summer Despite COVID-19 ThreatWhat Behaviors Will Shorten Your Life?Heat Kills More Americans Than Previously ThoughtYes, Bad Sleep Does Make People Grumpy
Links
Related Topics

Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management

AHA News: Enjoy a Nap, But Know the Pros and Cons


HealthDay News
Updated: Jul 22nd 2020

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, July 22, 2020 (American Heart Association News) -- You could read this story now. Or you could take a nap first, and perhaps tackle it feeling more alert and refreshed.

Health-wise, is that a good idea?

Under the right conditions, for the right reasons, probably – if you're awake to the possible pitfalls.

"A power nap, between 15 and 45 minutes, can improve memory and reduce fatigue for the rest of the day," said Dr. Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "If you're otherwise well rested, that kind of nap can actually boost performance pretty well."

Some studies even compare the benefits of a midday nap to a cup of coffee, while some companies – including Google and NASA – let workers pencil naptime into their daily schedule.

But the long-term effects of naps are less conclusive.

For example, a 2019 study in the British medical journal Heart tracked the napping habits of nearly 3,500 people over five years and found those who napped once or twice a week were 48% less likely to have a cardiovascular event than those who didn't. Conversely, a meta-analysis of 11 studies published in the journal Sleep in 2015 showed people who nap for an hour or more a day had 1.82 times the rate of cardiovascular disease than people who didn't nap.

"We do not know enough about the association of naps with either optimal health or disease risk, especially cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Clete Kushida, a neurologist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University Medical Center in California. "More research needs to be conducted."

The more urgent health question, both experts say, is why you're taking that nap.

"If you're napping because it helps you get through the day, that's probably a good thing," Grandner said. "But if you're napping because you just can't stay awake, that's a sign that there's some underlying health issue. You're either not getting enough sleep at night or your sleep quality could be very poor."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one-third of U.S. adults don't get enough sleep – at least seven hours per night is the standard recommendation – and warns that the risks include heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression. Even the weary who appear to have slept long enough may have sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder where breathing is frequently interrupted.

"If an individual has significant daytime sleepiness leading to inadvertent or spontaneous naps, it usually indicates sleep quantity or sleep quality issues," Kushida said. If the sleep time seems adequate, he urges an evaluation "for sleep disorders and/or medical diseases."

The ideal nap, Kushida and Grandner agree, shouldn't last too long.

"You don't want to get into a deep stage of sleep," Grandner said. "If you've ever woken up from a nap that was too long, you know it because you feel miserable and groggy."

Napping too long during the day, Kushida added, can disrupt overall sleep patterns. "It's generally recommended to maximize sleep at night," he said.

Grandner said the exception might be if someone occasionally doesn't sleep enough at night and needs to recoup during the day.

"I call that the sleep replacement nap," he said. "College students do it a lot. They stay up at night, but then they nap a few hours during the day. That's not an ideal solution, but it's not terrible, either."

Lying down for a nap or laying your head on the desk might be a good time to reflect on the importance of sleep.

"We live in a culture that doesn't necessarily value sleep," Grandner said. "We need to stop talking about it as unproductive time, and to stop admiring people who brag about how little sleep they think they need.

"The scientific evidence is there," he said. "Sleep is a foundational part of our biology, like diet and physical activity. We need to take care of it."