Adult naptimes can be beneficial but tricky

Naps can be beneficial for certain people, tricky for others. (Source: WAFF file)
Naps can be beneficial for certain people, tricky for others. (Source: WAFF file)

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Early afternoon... the energy level drops and the yawning begins. Wouldn't a short nap be great right about now? But will it affect the big sleep at night? And how long should it last?

We took these questions to sleep specialist Dr. Hunter Hearn.

"If you are sleep deprived, then a nap can help you get through the day, especially in the afternoon when there is a normal dip in our level of alertness," he said. "However for people who have trouble sleeping at night, chronic insomnia, daytime napping often backfires....and it can make it harder for those individuals to sleep at night."

He says too long a nap, and night time sleep pattern will be disturbed.  "It's better to do it earlier in the afternoon before 3."

He says a nap can mean an increase in energy, feeling more rested, improve mood....and it can help people with Narcolepsy.

We talked with some local folks in Decatur about napping during the day. Cari Sturn says she likes naps.  "If I get to nap it will be early afternoon....and sometimes it can be just a little cat nap and sometimes I can go out for hours."

Wilda Nichols is a retired nurse who know the value of naps. "It makes me feel great or else I wouldn't do it."
Theresa Lowery says naps are conditional. "Only if I'm sick. And then it's pretty much all day, which is pretty rare. Or if I'm a passenger in a car on a long drive."

Napping for adults can be very tricky. Doctors say while there are many benefits, there are also some down sides to napping. You have to know when to nap and how long you can sleep.

Dr. Hearn says nap in the early afternoon for no more than 30 minutes.   But people who have insomnia should not nap during the day.

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