Effect of Naps on Nighttime Sleep

Naps have different effects on adults and babies. In keeping with research results and the experiences of mothers, the length and quality of naps affects nighttime sleep and nighttime sleep affects naps for babies. For adults, naps can be beneficial if you find it hard to get a continuous period of sleep at night long enough to keep you going you all day long.

Timing is everything when it comes to naps. Naps too late in the day will affect your baby’s night sleep. Certain times are better than others to nap because they suit your baby’s biological clock. These periods balance sleep and wake time to affect night sleep in the best way.

Generally, the best times for your baby to nap are determined by the amount of naps he or she takes per day. If your child takes three naps per day, they should be taken mid morning, early afternoon, and early evening. For a two-nap baby, mid morning and early afternoon times are suggested. If your child is down to one nap, early afternoon generally works best.

Put your child down for a nap when you first notice signs of sleepiness, is the recommendation of experts. If you wait too long, your child may become wired, overtired, cranky, and the inability to fall asleep. Wait for cues from your baby that say he or she is ready for a nap. These may include decreased activity, quieting down, rubbing eyes, eyes glazed over, fussing, yawning, and needing a pacifier or bottle to go to sleep. Get your baby down for a nap as soon as possible rather than deal with a fussy child.

For adults, naps can be beneficial or detrimental depending on whether you have a hard time falling asleep or not. If you do, dont take naps during the day but if you must, make them no longer than 30 minutes.

Naps will be beneficial to you if you find yourself during the day unable to get an uninterrupted sleep cycle at night long to enough to keep you alert enough all day long. If your busy lifestyle won’t allow you to get adequate rest at night, take a nap. Thirty percent of Americans nap four or more times per week.

Naps have many health benefits
besides making you feel refreshed. Naps are great stress relievers. Studies show that your risk for heart disease drops significantly by taking regular 30 minute naps. Taking naps can strengthen your ability to pay close attention to detail and make critical decisions.

Limit your naps to 15-30 minutes at a time. Longer naps will cause our bodies to fall into deep sleep which make it difficult to wake from. For the very sleep-deprived, don’t take naps longer than one and a half hours. A 30 minute nap is enough to recharge your whole nervous system and leave you feeling refreshed.

If you nap in the middle of the day, be consistent and nap every day. An irregular schedule may throw off your internal clock. Brief daily naps are better for you than sleeping in or taking long naps on the weekends.

Napping late in the afternoon is not healthy and makes falling asleep in the evening delayed and could possibly shift your biological clock. In work-related sleep studies, afternoon naps can boost safety and productivity. Humans are biologically programmed to be sleepy twice a day, between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. An afternoon nap will maximize alertness.

In insomnia populations, refraining from taking naps has been suggested for enhancing sleep on the following night. Excessive napping may be a signal of an underlying sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. Individuals with depression may also spend much time in bed even if they are not necessarily sleeping.

Many employers are beginning to approve of their employees taking naps at work. The benefits of reducing costs, related to employee errors attributed to sleep deficiency, are the catalyst. Employees who are under slept, or sleep deprived, are at a higher risk for errors and accidents, absenteeism, drug use, turnover, and decreased productivity. Corporate America is also looking to reduce higher group insurance premiums. Many companies may soon institute power naps as a benefit for their paid employees.

See Also:

Creating Healthy Sleep Habits for Children

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