A midday nap is known as a siesta in Spain or riposo in Italy. It’s customary across different cultures across the globe.
A recent survey by Sleep Cycle says in the U.S. alone 80.7% of adults nap for at least 10 minutes once a day. Meanwhile, 30.5% of adults nap more than once weekly. This is according to the Sleep Foundation(1). And who can blame them?
There’s no doubt that sleep is essential for us to live full and productive lives. And that’s barely scratching the surface. Without good sleep, you’re essentially risking your overall health and well-being. On the other hand, napping has sparked debate.
Before we move forward, let's first define napping. A nap is a brief period of sleep usually taken midday. Harmful? Or beneficial? Well, it depends. The duration, timing, and quality of your naps all play an important role in whether they're good or bad for you.
Napping, when done right, can boost your energy, memory and even mood. On the flip side, overly long naps taken too often could be an indicator of underlying health issues. Chronic sleep deprivation, poor sleep quality and certain medical conditions, to name a few.
Is Napping Bad for You: What Science Says
According to an article written by Kelly Bilodeau for Harvard Health Publishing, short daytime naps have their benefits. That is if you’re in good health. But if it's an uncontrollable urge, it may be a sign that you’re sleep-deprived. And that puts you at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and depression(2).
Verywell Health says a recent study revealed that people who nap frequently during the day have a 12% higher risk of high blood pressure. They’re also 24% more at risk of having an ischemic stroke. This is compared to those who don’t nap at all(3).
Similarly, the American Heart Association featured the same study. But cited sleep expert Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D. and MTR: “This may be because, although taking a nap itself is not harmful, many people who take naps may do so because of poor sleep at night. Poor sleep at night is associated with poorer health, and naps are not enough to make up for that.(4)"
Another thing to consider is that frequent long naps can lead to a vicious cycle. You nap during the day to make up for lost sleep at night. Then come nighttime, you have difficulty falling asleep. This then leads to sleepiness the next day.
So, what do these studies show you? Yes, napping may be linked to certain health conditions. But they don't prove napping causes these conditions. They simply show a correlation. Other lifestyle factors could be at play.
That said, it doesn't mean that all naps are bad for everyone, especially when done right. Brief afternoon snoozes can make a positive difference to your mental, physical and emotional health. These include improved mood, memory, focus, alertness and increased energy levels. Read our article on the benefits of napping to learn more.
Is Napping a Symptom of Sleep Disorders?
Often, a warning sign of sleep issues is frequent naps taken during the day. If you keep dozing off while going about your daily grind, speak to your doctor. It could be a sign of an underlying sleep or health condition.
For example, it could be a symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It's a condition wherein you start and stop breathing throughout the night. It typically results in daytime sleepiness, causing the need to nap more frequently.
Likewise, it could be an indicator of insomnia. This sleep disorder causes you to have difficulty drifting off and staying asleep. It could make you super drowsy during the day, which increases the need to nap.
Excessive daytime sleepiness that results in frequent napping, is often a red flag for sleep disorders.
The Impact of Poor Sleep Quality on Health
You might be tempted to forego napping altogether because of the findings we mentioned earlier. Don’t be. It’s important to understand that napping isn’t inherently bad for you. Instead, frequent napping may be an indication of poor nighttime sleep.
And just what does poor nighttime sleep lead to? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep can lead to heart disease, depression, stroke, and type 2 diabetes(5).
Another hot topic is how napping stacks up against a good night's sleep. It’s not a napping vs. sleeping type of thing because it’s not a competition. Getting good sleep at night helps your body recover and repair itself. Meanwhile, a well-timed nap can be an energy booster when you need a pick-me-up during the day.
But take note: napping isn’t a replacement for a good night's sleep. Napping because you’re trying to make up for lost sleep at night is a problem. You need to address the root cause.
Long naps or snoozing after 3:00 p.m. can mess with your sleep quality. You’ll have difficulty falling and staying asleep at night (both indicators of poor sleep quality). On the other hand, a short nap between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. can help you stay productive for the rest of the day.
How to Nap Right
Planning to nap during the day? Here are some tips to ensure it doesn’t mess with your nighttime sleep:
Time It Right – As we mentioned earlier the best time for a nap is early in the afternoon. This is when your energy levels dip naturally. Try timing it between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Keep It Short – Nap for 20 minutes (a.k.a power nap). This lets you reap the benefits of napping without waking up feeling groggy and disoriented. This is also known as sleep inertia. Plus, you won’t have difficulty falling asleep at night.
Keep It Dark, Quiet and Cool – Ideally, the room temperature should be between 60 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit (or 16 and 23 degrees Celsius). If you’re napping at work or while traveling, check out the sleep products in the next section.
Believe it or not, catching some zzzs midday may enhance your well-being. When done right, it can lower your stress levels, improve cognitive function and put you in a better mood. Pretty neat for something you can do snuggled comfortably on your bed, sofa or desk, right?
Sleep Products Made for Napping
To make the most out of your naps, consider sleep accessories that were made for napping. Napping in the daytime is easier said than done. Apart from daylight, not everyone has the pleasure of napping on their bed. Some have to make do with a desk or nap upright while traveling.
This section talks about the different nap tools that’ll make your sleep space conducive to grabbing great zzzs.
A Sleep Mask That Blocks Out Light 100%
Anybody who says they can nap in instantly with the lights on has to be joking. And that’s why sleep masks were invented. The thing is not all are as effective at blocking out light as they should be.
You see, it's not just about the annoying glare. Light is the enemy of sleep because it tells your body it's time to be awake. Darkness does the opposite while telling your body to produce melatonin, which helps wind down for a snooze.
That’s where a comfy sleep mask that keeps light at bay comes in handy. Why not give Manta Sleep masks a go?
Manta Sleep Mask
If you’re new to the world of sleep masks, our original mask is the perfect introduction.
“All I can say is I wish I found this sooner in life…having issues with sleep for the better part of 10 years this mask helps tremendously by not only blocking out light entirely but it also trains the brain to know when it’s time to sleep. I’ve had no issues falling asleep since using it. Great product for anyone with issues falling asleep for sure.”
Convex, tapered eye cups for zero eye and lash pressure
Cozy and breathable materials
100% machine washable (comes with its laundry bag)
Earplugs That Block Out Disruptive Noise
Unless you’re listening to white noise or sleep-inducing tunes with a Bluetooth sleep mask with headphones, then sound is sleep’s enemy. And we mean loud, jarring sounds that are so common during the daytime.
Put simply, what you need is a pair of really good earplugs.
Why settle for 1, when you can own 10 pairs of earplugs? Manta Earplugs kill it when it comes to blocking up to 32 decibels of no1se.
Effective and comfortable
“These earplugs are so comfortable and I can barely feel them in my ears (sometimes I forget theyre even there!) Im an extremely light sleeper and even the teeniest noise wakes me up. Hence my need to wear earplugs to sleep. What I really love about these earplugs is that theyre very effective at blocking out noise but not to the extreme point that I wont be able to hear my alarm go off. Two thumbs up from me!”
Made from slow-release foam that’s moldable for a personal fit
1 pack contains 10 pairs of earplugs
Easy to spot because of their bright blue color
Has a unique bell shape design suitable for your ear canals
Pillows That Make Napping at Work or While Traveling a Breeze
This goes out to the people who have to sleep on their desks. Or suffer the dreaded head bob while sitting upright while traveling. We feel you!
And that’s why we designed nap pillows to make your snoozes extra comfy despite the circumstances.
Manta Travel Pillow
The best thing about Manta Travel Pillow is… oh, wait. There are 4. Yup, you can configure it in different ways, depending on what’s most comfy. Did we mention it’s inflatable in 2 breaths and comes with a pouch for easy storage?
Won't use any other travel pillow
“I fly a lot and I’m actually writing this review while descending into Ireland. This after my first use of this pillow. It so comfortable, it’s so easy to pack in my carry on, I absolutely love it! Pretty sure I slept with it about three different ways. Had everyone around me asking what kind of pillow it was!”
Configure it in 4 different ways to support your head and neck: the Lock, Hug, Nod and Cradle.
Made with plush microfleece for luxe comfort
Has a small side pocket to stash your Manta Earplugs
Removable and machine-washable cover for easy cleaning
Manta Nap Arc
We designed this nap pillow especially for your work desk. (Although you can use it on flat surfaces of roughly the same height, too.) The unique arc design is ergonomic to give your neck and head adequate support.
This nap pillow is perfect for snoozing on your desk. You could say it was made for napping at work. Its unique arc design fully supports your head and neck while putting zero pressure on your arms.
Puts zero pressure on your arms
Ultra-soft yet stable
Adjust the height by pulling the strap and G-hook.
Made from cooling fabric to beat hot sleeping
Removable slipcover that’s 100% machine-washable
Conclusion: Setting the Record Straight on Napping
So, is napping bad for you? It can be but not in all cases. Brief naps taken in the early afternoon offer tons of benefits for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. But it's important to note that frequent and prolonged snoozing could be a sign of an underlying sleep or health issue.
If you notice that you’re napping longer and more often than usual, take a step back and assess your nighttime sleep habits. Are you really getting enough good sleep? Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns.
Remember that insufficient and poor-quality sleep puts you at risk of serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes. The frequent need to nap during the day may also be a sign of insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea.
Done right, napping can make a positive impact on your health. Follow the tips and consider the sleep products we discussed in this article to optimize your naps.
So, go ahead and take that well-deserved snooze!
(1) “Who’s Napping, How Long, and What Does It Mean for Our Health?” Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/who-is-napping-and-how-long-are-naps. Accessed 14 September 2023.
(2) “Is your daily nap doing more harm than good?” Harvard Health Publishing, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-your-daily-nap-doing-more-harm-than-good. Accessed 14 September 2023.
(3) “Is Too Much Napping Bad For Your Health?” VeryWell Health, www.verywellhealth.com/frequent-naps-could-increase-your-risk-of-stroke-6362621. Accessed 14 September 2023.
(4) “Study shows link between frequent naps and high blood pressure” American Heart Association, newsroom.heart.org/news/study-shows-link-between-frequent-naps-and-high-blood-pressure. Accessed 14 September 2023.
(5) “Sleep and Sleep Disorders.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html. Accessed 14 September 2023.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our blog, e-mails, or programs is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your healthcare professionals.