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Power nap or sleep disorder? Signs that you are napping the wrong way | Health

Sleep is important for your overall well-being and a good night’s sleep can help you face the day with energy and alertness. While sleeping during daytime is usually discouraged by experts as it can interfere with the night-time sleep, a power nap of 5-10 minutes can have a rejuvenating impact on mind, and it helps to get over the post-lunch slump. However, exceeding this to an hour or so can have a negative impact on our health and energy levels. (Also read: Insomnia: Do sleep aids and medication really work? Expert warns about side effects, discusses benefits)

“Naps are very common in the daytime and often there are many misconceptions and myths associated with them. Naps are brief periods of sleep people take between their sleep cycle to refresh themselves. They can range from a healthy nap to a dangerous mid-time sleepiness,” says Dr Puneet Khanna, HOD and Consultant, Respiratory Medicine, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka.

What is a healthy nap

“A short 5-10 minutes of nap in the afternoon particularly after lunch is good for mind breaks. It refreshes the mind and gives an energy boost to a person after a tired day. However, if these naps are frequent and if they keep occurring with the person having no control over them then they indicate an underlying sleep disorder for which a diagnosis must be done,” says Dr Khanna.

“There is also a concept called power nap. They are done by people who have been practicing them for a long time. The basic role of the power nap is a short 30-minute sleep break in the daytime which is effective and can lead to a deeper state of sleep which is as refreshing as 2-3 hours of a good night’s sleep,” adds the expert.

Dr Khanna says that this is however beneficial for people who come after a long and tiring jobs and need this rest. It is not easy to take a power nap and many times people end up considering short breaks of sleep as power naps which could instead be signs of an underlying sleep disorder. The sign of a healthy nap is that a person should wake up refreshed and not groggy.

When a nap is unhealthy

“If a person feels overwhelming urges of sleep in the daytime after every 15-20 minutes, then they should consult a sleep physician to evaluate any underlying sleep disorder or a daytime sleep disorder like narcolepsy,” says Dr Khanna.

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