[PSYCH IN 60] Are Naps Good For You?

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Are Naps Good for You?

For babies and toddlers, naps are a very efficient way to get all of the sleep that they need in a 24-hour day. As we age, we shift the majority of our sleep to at night and we have a slow decline in the total sleep that is needed in a 24-hour day.

It’s good to think of sleep as a metabolism and we all have an individual sleep need. The way this works is that if you are an 8-year-old who needs 11 hours of sleep each day, then a one hour nap would leave you with the capacity to sleep 10 hours each night.

Our capacity to fall asleep is influenced by how long we’ve been awake, so an afternoon nap in adults can actually make it harder to fall asleep at night because we haven’t been awake for a very long. There’s a lot of individual variability in the ability to nap. It can be good to test whether or not you even are a napper.

My favorite nap length is less than 30 minutes because a short nap does not draw down our ability to sleep at night.

The only hardship with regular napping is that your brain will come to expect naps, which may not fit your schedule every day.

Do you have any questions for Psych in 60? Ask us in the comments below!

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Dr. Kristin Daley

Dr. Kristin Daley received her doctorate in clinical health psychology from UNCC. In addition to her doctoral training, she is one of approximately 200 psychologists who completed their certification in behavioral sleep medicine. She is passionate about assisting people in moving into healthy places in life, and spends her free time with her husband and three children.

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