Daytime sleeping can be a normal thing for many people. Some are just used to napping during the day. However, are there any negatives of sleeping during the day? Are there any clear cut benefits of sleeping during the day? These are probably two of the most common questions that you would have if you are one of those people who sleep during the day. At the end of the day, you would like to find out if your practice is beneficial or detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing.
Often time, when we don’t get a good night’s rest, a nap during the day helps make us feel better. However, this is varied to the type of people who make daytime sleeping a practice. For instance, it is quite common for pregnant women or new mothers to nap during the day. This is a given considering their special set of circumstances.
Some of us tend to not sleep as much at night and sleep during the day to find the rest which our body obviously needs. If you are in fact a night owl and burn the midnight oil with whatever it is that you do, you may want to catch up on that 8 hours of sleep during the day. However, do you run the risk of turning into an insomniac? Is sleeping during the day bad for you? We will look into the various elements of sleeping during the day including the negatives, the positives, the effects and even that overarching question that you may have, ‘does sleeping during the day make me fat?’
Let’s dig a little deeper and try to understand the various negatives of sleeping during the day first. After all, you should know of any detriments your actions may be having on your body and wellbeing; so you can decide for yourself what is the best way forward.
Is Sleeping During the Day Bad?
Though inadequate sleep or irregular sleep patterns is associated with adverse health and wellbeing, research has found that sleeping during the day works to lower your blood pressure. That being the case, as per a study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), sleeping during the day has been linked to changes in more than 100 proteins that are responsible for the proper regulation of blood sugar levels, immunity and metabolism.
This could lead to the development of diabetes over time and the onset of obesity. Hence, in actuality, yes there is a negative element to sleeping during the day. Here, we do not mean those who sleep during the day on an occasional basis. We refer to those who make a practice out of sleeping or napping during the day. This could include people like night-shift workers who due to their jobs, have no other option than to sleep during the day.
That being the case, not getting enough sleep altogether can have harmful effects on your body, including the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and even obesity. Hence for those such as night-shift workers who don’t get enough sleep during the night, sleeping during the day is essential. However, when it comes to the rest of us who do sleep during the night and look to sleep during the day for added rest, there may be some drawbacks to this.
Firstly, your metabolism is affected by sleeping during the day and you are more likely to have a slower metabolism, this can lead to weight gain. Further to this, as mentioned from within the study conducted by PNAS, the proteins that are responsible for the effective regulation of blood glucose levels and maintaining immunity will not work as effectively, thereby making you more susceptible to developing diabetes. The fact that it disrupts your immunity goes to imply that it may make you more prone to illnesses.
If you are accustomed to sleeping regularly at night with the combination of sleeping during the day, then you aren’t really changing your sleep patterns, but adding more sleep. However, this doesn’t imply that you have a normal sleep pattern. A normal sleep pattern includes 7 to 8 hours of sleep during the night and wakefulness during the day. As mentioned above, the added sleep can lead to the slowing down of your metabolism which runs you with the risk of developing obesity.
If you are a night shift worker and is accustomed to sleeping during the day and staying up at night, obvious to state that your body would have to train itself completely. Normally, you are not accustomed to eating during the night. However, night-shift workers would be eating during the night resulting in blood sugar spikes at times that are not within the norms. This would result in your body running in a different pattern altogether in comparison to those who sleep during the night.
All in all, whether you stay up at night and sleep during the day, or whether you sleep during the night and nap during the day, there are some drawbacks of both to your health. With night-shift workers being the exception, who don’t really have much of a choice, let’s focus more on those of us who do sleep at night and then nap during the day. For those night owls, who would like to have it highlighted what staying up at night and sleeping during the day would mean; your proteins that regulate your immunity, metabolism and blood glucose level will be significantly affected when you change your sleeping patterns from night to day.
Is it Good to Sleep in the Daytime?
Naps are considered a healthy habit for most people. Naps defined as daytime sleeping usually last between 15 to 90 minutes and have been shown to improve brain functions such as memory and focus. It also helps boost your creativity. For some people, naps are considered as restorative as a whole night’s rest.
If you are one of those people who burn the midnight oil, then you would know that during the day, you find it almost necessary sometimes to get some rest and sleep a little. This is where a nap comes in handy. For those of you who work late shifts or wake up early in the morning, sleeping during the day may become more of a norm. You are in essence only catching the 8 hours of sleep that you should be getting, so what if you aren’t getting them all at night.
Sleeping during the day or napping could help your body reboot. It works to relax you and improve your performance. In fact, if you’ve ever heard of the term ‘power nap’ it is intended to be a short 10-minute rest where you sleep and wake up feeling revitalised and fresh. Though a power nap isn’t as long as a nap, it works similarly well to give you the short rest that your body is urging for.
If you sleep the normal 8 hours per night and still find yourself sleepy during the day, you may be prone to daytime sleepiness, for which there are prevention tips as offered by WebMD. Follow this link. However, otherwise, due to a late-night or early morning, you nap during the day to help get your mojo back, then sure to state, a nap could help you improve your mood.
Benefits of Napping During the Day
There are various benefits of a well-timed nap. It can work to relax you and reduce exhaustion. You would experience less fatigue after a nap. Your alertness and focus are sure to be improved from the rest acquired during a nap. It also impacts your mood to bring more positivity and happiness. Further to this, your cognitive functions such as memory and reaction time will also be enhanced.
Disadvantages of Napping During the Day
Napping can be counterproductive for some people. Though you have the ability to fight fatigue through a nap, it can also cause you to find it difficult to fall asleep during the night. People who have trouble falling asleep at night or have bad sleep, in general, should avoid napping.
Sleep inertia is another thing that is experienced by some people who nap. It is the sleepiness after waking up from a nap. You can try to avoid this by taking shorter naps, however, you are likely to feel disoriented, which can be disruptive when you have work to attend to. Hence, though napping has various benefits, it is not recommended for all.
One of the most problematic issues with regards to napping is the fact that it has the tendency to keep you up at night. A too long of a nap would work to completely disrupt your sleep schedule thereby causing further exhaustion and problem the next day. If you suffer from insomnia or poor sleep in general, napping during the day would actually work further against you.
If you nap for too long, you could be running the risk of developing various serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Hence when you are napping, you have to ensure that you don’t overdo it and nap for too long, which could most certainly have various detrimental effects on your health and wellbeing.
Does Napping Make You Fat?
Napping can make you less active, thereby resulting in more chances of weight gain. It can also affect the metabolism of some people by making it slower, thereby further increasing the chances of gaining weight. However, napping also works to reduce cortisol in your body, which when elevated can increase fat storage in your body. Lower levels of cortisol could prevent weight gain. Another hormone that is reduced is ghrelin which gets elevated when you’re exhausted. Hence, if you don’t nap when you find yourself exhausted, you are more prone to eating.
There is a mix of both yes and no to the question of weight gain. Firstly, as mentioned above, napping during the day leaves less room for you to be active. However, if you are already an active person and have an active lifestyle, then you have more to gain by napping due to exhaustion. Napping due to exhaustion and napping otherwise are two varied phenomenon. If you find yourself bored and choose to nap, then yes, the chances of gaining weight are rather spiked. However, if you are exhausted and require a nap, then no, due to the fact that you are providing only what your body needs, you are less likely to gain weight.
All in all, napping when done at the wrong time can lead to weight gain. Napping at the wrong times for certain will not help you lose weight. A new study conducted by the Harvard Medical School has led us to believe that napping during the afternoon can help boost your weight loss by allowing you to burn more calories in comparison to napping during the morning.
Sleeping itself is not the main reason why you gain weight. It is the fact that you are less active while you sleep than for instance going on a walk that brings about the question of weight gain. Hence as stated previously, if you are napping due to exhaustion, it is less likely that it would lead to weight gain than simply napping because you are bored.
Best Time and Duration for a Nap
The best time for a nap is considered the afternoon for napping after 3 pm can interfere with your nighttime sleep. When it comes to the duration of a nap, you should look to nap for 10 to 20 minutes which prevents you from developing sleep inertia after the nap; the feeling of grogginess.
When you consider napping for longer than 30 minutes, your body has enough time to move into deep (slow-wave) sleep. Waking up from slow-wave sleep can make you feel groggy for up to an hour. This period of sleepiness is called sleep inertia. Hence, in order to prevent this, you should look to nap no longer than 20 minutes.
These 10 to 20-minute naps are called ‘power naps’ for the right reason that they work to aid your body from the lack of sleep and to fight exhaustion, simultaneously preventing sleep inertia, which can be problematic for many people.
Simultaneously, napping for too short of a period is shown to have no notable benefit. For instance, a 5-minute nap is considered too short for you to move deep enough through the sleep stages to actually produce any noticeable results.
When napping, look for the best time of the day, which is usually the afternoon and aim to nap for no longer than 20 minutes.
Obvious to state, if you are sleeping 8 hours every night and are looking to nap a few hours during the day, you may be inclined to oversleeping, which could be an issue.
Effects of Oversleeping
The amount of sleep that you requires significantly varies based on the stages of life that you are in. It depends on various factors such as age and activity level. Further to this, in a period of stress or illness, you are inclined to sleep more. Though that is the case, the general 7 to 8 hours of sleep is generally recommended for adults.
Some people suffer from hypersomnia, which is oversleeping; an actual medical disorder. This condition could cause you to suffer from extreme sleepiness during the day which usually doesn’t go away by simply napping. This can lead to various symptoms developing, such as anxiety, low energy and trouble with memory. As a result, you would constantly be thinking about sleep and finding yourself sleepy.
Oversleeping can cause a host of medical problems such as diabetes, obesity and headaches. It can lead to back pains and the development of depression and heart disease. In fact, what is scary is that studies have proven that people who sleep more than 9 hours a night have a significantly high death rate than people who sleep between 7 to 8 hours a night.
You should aim for the recommended amount of sleep and not look to sleep more. This includes the naps that you take during the day. Only sleep during the day if you find yourself deprived of sleep or exhausted from the day’s work. You should aim to keep the same bedtimes and wake time every day. That way, you train your body on a scheduled pattern. If you have trouble sleeping at night, do avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime and exercise regularly.