To nap or not to nap? That is the question


Quality sleep every night is important for your overall health and well-being.

But for someone with a sleeping disorder, it’s natural to want to catch up on some shut-eye whenever possible. But what if your afternoon power nap is actually hindering your night time sleep?

Maybe you need an alternative strategy to fight the tiredness brought on by lack of sleep: one that will have you sleeping properly at the right time and waking up fresh and ready to face the day. 

Trying to restore sleep debt

Perhaps working shifts or erratic hours leads you to crave a daytime doze.

Quality sleep every night is important for your health and well-being.

However, if you have a sleep disorder, you should only nap if it’s absolutely necessary. Naps can interfere with your ability to sleep at night and throw your sleep schedule into disarray.1

So stop trying to snooze away your sleep debt and aim to rest during the optimal time – between 11pm at 8am.

Research is emerging all the time that boasts that napping can restore alertness, enhance performance and even reduce mistakes and accidents.2 But what if a nap doesn't do this for you?

While napping may be beneficial for some people, if a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or insomnia is affecting your sleep then you may not feel any better after a nap. 

Already diagnosed with sleep apnea?

If you have a CPAP machine for your sleep apnea, you should use it every time you sleep, even if you're just planning on a brief siesta. Sleeping without it may leave you vulnerable to harmful apneas. 

If you're still getting used to using your CPAP treatment, you might want to erase napping from your plans altogether. Put simply, naps make it harder to embrace CPAP because of the effect they have on reducing your sleep dept. It sounds hard to believe, but while you're adjusting to CPAP treatment, some sleep debt is actually a good thing because it makes you more tired at the right time and may help you to fall asleep with your new equipment. Try to soldier on without a nap while you adjust to your CPAP treatment.

Treatment of sleep apnea can help you to sleep properly and feel more energised during the day.

Got insomnia? Don’t nap!

While telling someone suffering from insomnia that they shouldn't try to sleep might sound odd, it's a good strategy if you have severe difficulties trying to sleep at night.

People with insomnia should avoid napping.3 A healthy amount of sleep debt can actually help them fall asleep at the desired time at night. People with insomnia who do take a daytime nap may find themselves staying awake long past their desired bedtime, which only furthers the cycle of sleeplessness.

Concerned about your sleep?

We’d like to help you get a more peaceful night’s sleep.

Try our free sleep assessment to find out what could be behind your sleeping problem.

Are you at risk of sleep apnea?

If you frequently wake up during the night you may have sleep apnea. Take our free sleep assessment to find out.


Free sleep assessment

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2 accessed 5 July 2019.

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