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Is taking daytime naps healthy?

Posted on April 23 2022

Is taking daytime naps healthy? - Roshni Sanghvi

The relationship between naps and health.

To nap or not to nap.

Let’s first take a trip to Greece (you will understand why in a bit):

I was on a trip to Greece with my college roommate a few years ago and remember it as being absolutely magical!

Greece has an Island by the name Ikaria, which is known as an island where people forget to die.

What?

Yeah, people live to their 90’s and an average of 8- 10 years more than those in developed nations.

But what has this to do with afternoon naps?

Well turns out, like most of Greece, these islanders love their afternoon siesta. Everything on the island is shut in the afternoon so people can nap.

So naps are good? Well….

While addressing the topic of sleep, it is important to discuss about the hormone Adenosine.

Adenosine is one of the most important and powerful hormones which helps you go to sleep. It is what makes you drowsy and fall asleep.

As soon as you wake up in the morning, the adenosine stores in your body start building up. So if you imagine a flask or a glass, think of adenosine molecules to be building up the flask during the course of the day. Once its level reaches its maximum by the evening, you tend to start getting sleepy or drowsy.

However, if you take an afternoon nap while the adenosine levels are halfway through, you burn up some of the adenosine stores by sleeping. Hence, you would not be able to build up adenosine levels adequately by the time you try to sleep at night.

Thus, you might have difficulty sleeping at night.

What does science say?

A study conducted in 2009 examined the relationship between adenosine and sleep. The various experiments under the study suggested that adenosine does in fact have a functional role to play in sleep control and to maintain normal cognitive performance.

The bottom line here is that for some people afternoon naps work and for some it doesn’t.

If you struggle with sleeping at night, then don’t burn out your adenosine stores in the afternoon. Just go to sleep at night. But if you are one of the “I can drink coffee and still sleep like a puppy” person, then daytime naps won’t matter.

Monitor your sleep cycle while trying both ways out and choose the one that keeps your sleep routine healthy and timely.

Trust this helps,

Roshni Sanghvi.

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