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Is Napping Bad for You? How to Take a Healthy Nap

written by Skye Sherman - Nov 11, 2019

Photo Credit: by Ushie
Photo Credit: by Ushie's Pics, from

While a nap may seem like a too-good-to-be-true dream to many adults, babies and newborns need to nap for a good portion of the day as their bodies are busy with major growth cycles. But naps are less common for adults, and certainly not necessary in the way that they are for babies.

But isn’t napping good for you, if you can find time to take a nap? Surely more sleep could only help! The reality is that napping may make you feel good, but it is not necessarily good for you. That said, some in the medical community argue that napping isn’t bad for you, either. And with the opening of the first-ever Canadian napping studio in Toronto, people are wondering if they should stop in to places like this. You can score a 25-minute snooze for just $10.

So which is it? Should adults nap? Is napping good or bad for you? In this article, we’ll review the current points of view in the medical community to help determine whether napping is a good idea, and also explain how to take a healthy nap if you decide to get some shut-eye during the day. Read on to learn more about napping.

Is napping good or bad for you?

Sleep is a vital part of life, but getting the right amount is a delicate balance. Napping can be a helpful way to catch up on insufficient ZZZs or recharge your batteries during the day, but it can also be a sign of larger issues at hand. So is napping good or bad for you?

An article in Healthline titled Is Napping Good or Bad for Your Health? claims, “... previous research has shown people with a genetic predisposition to heart disease can lower those risks by getting the right amount of sleep. However, having too much or too little sleep can put people at risk for heart attack.”

The article also shares about a study in Switzerland that examined participants’ weekly napping patterns with an eye to their heart health. “They saw a significantly lower risk of [fatal and nonfatal heart-related medical events] in people who took a nap once or twice a week compared to people who didn’t nap at all. That even accounted for people with sleep apnea or who were excessively sleepy during the day.”

In other words, there’s a healthy and an unhealthy way to nap. It’s important to nap just the right amount in order to benefit from napping as much as possible but not let it negatively affect your health or daily life. The study shows correlation, not causation, but is still worth thinking about as you monitor your napping schedule.

All in all, what we know about naps seems to suggest that they’re more complicated than just a simple good or bad label. They’re not all good or all bad; instead, they can be either harmful or beneficial, or simply a sign of another health concern altogether.

Did you know that walking might affect your sleep in positive ways? A recent article in The New York Times shares, “Taking more steps during the day may be related to better sleep at night, according to an encouraging new study of lifestyle and sleep patterns. The study, which delved into the links between walking and snoozing, suggests that being active can influence how well we sleep, whether we actually exercise or not.”

Having healthy sleep patterns overall is a sign that all is well, while interrupted or insufficient sleep or excessive feelings of tiredness, especially during the day, are reasons to dig deeper. In older adults, napping might even be a sign of dementia. The best answer is just to monitor your sleep levels and quality to ensure that all is within a healthy range.

Of course, the need to nap differs between adults and children. Children, especially when in infancy or toddlerhood, require quite a bit more sleep than full grown adults do. Teenagers, too, have a reputation for sleeping quite a lot. This is because at both stages of life, there’s a large amount of growth happening that requires a significant amount of energy internally. While infants should be napping up to 16 hours per day, if the same thing is happening with an adult, that’s a sign of a major underlying issue. So, the same rules of napping do not apply the same to adults and children.

How to nap properly

It’s clear that napping itself isn’t necessarily harmful--the issue is more in how you nap or why you’re napping. For example, napping just a few times a week could be good for your heart health, but lying down for a nap every day might be a sign of not getting enough sleep during the night or even an underlying health issue.

The Healthline article referenced previously also states, “The researchers stated that naps less than 30 minutes — commonly referred to as ‘power naps’ — to be beneficial in preventing coronary heart disease, but they seem to have an opposite effect if people snooze for longer than that. That’s not to say naps are bad for your heart. Rather, the need for them might mean there’s something else going on.”

Another article, in Medical News Today, states, “The researchers found that taking 1–2 weekly naps during the day was linked with 48% lower chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure, compared with those who did not nap at all. However, the analysis revealed no link between cardiovascular events and the duration of the naps.”

So how do you nap properly? Some say that naps should either be shorter than half an hour or longer than 90 minutes. Any amount of time in between may leave you feeling groggy, confused, or more tired than you were when you started.

Mayo Clinic also shares a few pointers in their article, Napping: Do’s and don’ts for healthy adults:

“What's the best way to take a nap? …

* Keep naps short. Aim to nap for only 10 to 20 minutes. The longer you nap, the more likely you are to feel groggy afterward. However, young adults might be able to tolerate longer naps.

* Take naps in the early afternoon. Napping after 3 p.m. can interfere with nighttime sleep. Individual factors, such as your need for sleep, your sleeping schedule, your age and your medication use, 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, give yourself time to wake up before resuming activities — particularly those that require a quick or sharp response.”

It’s no wonder that so many working adults are requesting napping pods at their place of employment! With just a quick doze off into dreamland, you could awake feeling restored and brand new.

CNET recommends timing your nap correctly, getting out of bed right when you wake up, doing something energizing after your nap, and knowing when you should skip a nap altogether. They also are proponents of the coffee nap: “Yep, that’s a thing. A ‘coffee nap’ refers to guzzling some caffeine right before your nap. If everything works out, you'll wake up feeling extra refreshed and energized because the effects of caffeine peak around 30-60 minutes after consumption, which is shortly after you should wake up from a nap. If you drink coffee too long before you plan to nap, however, you risk losing your opportunity for a nap if the caffeine sets in and keeps you awake. So … coffee naps come down to the timing.”

Still, if napping during the day is affecting your sleep at night, that can also be another sign that it’s time to cut back. Sleeping is intended to take place over a long stretch of time through the night to give your body ample time to heal, rest, restore, and process the day. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep during the night and then simply supplement that with short naps during the day if needed.

The bottom line is that if you’re going to nap, you need to make sure to do it right. Do it in a way that only helps and doesn’t harm.

Cardiac health

While we’re on the subject of heart health, since it relates to napping, let’s take a quick look at cardiac medications. To learn more, you can visit the American Heart Association’s article on Cardiac Medications.

We offer many different medications for cardiac health on our website. If you have a prescription for a cardiac related medication, consider ordering from us in order to save time, money, and lots of hassle. We also stock a variety of medications for sleep disorders, including over-the-counter Sominex and Unisom.



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