Is Napping Okay?
Recently my spouse Janet declared how much she loves to nap. As a matter of fact, she wants to make napping a part of her daily ritual.
My thoughts on napping are mixed. In this hectic day and age, if one is feeling sleep-deprived and has trouble keeping their eyes open after lunch, a nap can help to recharge. On the other hand, napping can potentially interfere in feeling sleepy at night. This, of course, can lead to less nighttime sleep and more daytime drowsiness. But, is a nap what you really need?
Within the discussion of napping, it’s important to understand the number of hours of sleep needed on a nightly basis that will contribute to feeling great and thriving. Below is an updated list of recommended sleep hours by age group put together by the National Sleep Foundation.
Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
Babies and children who have a routinized bedtime each night generally benefit by getting the necessary amount of sleep they need to thrive. Since they require many more hours of sleep than the average adult, you can see why babies and young children also benefit from daytime naps.
As adults though, we may potentially need up to 10 fewer hours of sleep a night than a newborn. So, why does an adult require a nap? Most likely, a long time ago, they let go of their steady bedtime that would ordinarily provide them with a healthy amount of sleep. This lack of a consistent bedtime throws the body off and can interfere in falling asleep or sleeping through the night.
Before deciding that you need a nap to function better, consider focusing on your bedtime habits. Setting bedtime and wake up goals that are consistent 7 days a week and provide a bare minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night will do wonders for how you feel during the day. If you discover you need more than 7 hours, before convincing yourself you need to nap, try increasing your nighttime sleep to 8 or 9 hours.
If after gaining consistent nighttime sleep of up to 9 hours, and you’re still ready to drop in the afternoons, then yes, absolutely go for a short power nap. Between 10-20 minutes can provide you with that extra burst of energy your body may be lacking.
If you’d like tips on how to re-adjust your sleep time frame, feel free to write to me here.
Please also share this article with anyone who may benefit. Thanks!
Susan D’Addario, Author, Certified Sleep Science Coach, and Founder of Back-To-Sleep, helps people struggling to get a good night’s sleep so they can finally sleep soundly again and feel rested and ready to take on the world.