Can a nap affect our night sleep?

Many of us are avid nap-takers. But one question arises: can this habit disturb our sleep at night? Here are some answers.

Ah, the nap! For many of us (including the author of these lines), it is a pleasant moment to rest and give ourselves a boost of energy during the day. But be careful, it is not a matter of making it last for hours! And for good reason, the ideal nap should last between 20 to 30 minutes and take place between 1pm and 5pm (when a state of drowsiness is likely to appear). According to a study, taking a short nap every day could even reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%. Among its other benefits, we can mention an improvement in mood, a feeling of relaxation, but also a better memory. Good to know, right?

Also read: What is Mental Walking, this trick to fall asleep faster?


But then, faced with all these benefits, one question still arises: can taking a nap disturb our night sleep? Well, the answer depends on several factors. The main factor depends of course on the duration of the nap: in fact, to avoid disturbing our nights, it should not exceed 1h30. A study published in 2016 in the « Journal of the American Geriatrics Society » looked at the consequences of (too) long a nap. Result? A nap exceeding 90 minutes, in addition to having an impact on the quality of our night sleep, can also have repercussions on our brain functions throughout the day.

There is, however, one category of people for whom the nap is totally not recommended: insomniacs. « Indeed, as these are small sleepers, the hours spent sleeping during the day are no longer « recuperative », but encroach on the following night, which is likely to be even more difficult and disturbed », explained Dr. Bertrand de la Giclais, head of the Annecy-Argonay sleep center and research associate at the Hotel-Dieu sleep center in Paris in an interview with the newspaper « Le Figaro« .

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