5 Myths About Nap
by Panchajanya 'Panch' Paul, MD

In the scorching heat of summer, temperatures can reach near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Working outdoors stretches the limit of human capacity. People in tropics traditionally have taken naps during this period, and resumed work again when the temperature is more forgiving. Now we mostly work indoors, with indoor air conditioning. A nap is a planned short sleep taken during the daytime in addition to the regular night sleep. Does nap have any role in our modern society? Let us look at the myths around nap, and find out the truth?

Myth #1: Napping is for babies and for elderly!
Fact: Napping can be beneficial for all specially those engaged in intense mental or physical work. Nap can improve alertness, productivity and creativity. Naps on weekends can compensate for some of the ill effects of sleep deprivation during the week.

Myth #2: After nap, I will be sleepier !
Fact: A sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes. If your nap is more than 20 minutes but less than 90 minutes you will feel groggy This is due to sleep inertia as you are waking up before completing the sleep cycle. But this is temporary and will go away in 5 to 10 minutes. This is the best time to have a cup of tea and coffee and get back to activity.

Myth #3: Nap will decrease productivity!
Fact: The benefits of nap are so powerful that many top companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Goggle are providing nap zones for their workers. A short nap has shown to improve work flow, productivity and efficiency. Do not check social media or surf net during the break. This will make you more tired. Instead, find a comfortable couch or lay your head down on the desk after lunch for around 20 benefits and reap the benefits. I know one doctor who starts his day at 5am and sees patients till 5pm. He has been doing this for last 30 years. His secret- he naps in his minivan during break for 30 minutes daily.

Myth #4: Naps cause weight gain!
Fact: Decreased sleep disrupts the hormones regulated with appetite and fat storage. Naps never increases weight. On the contrary, the extra sleep will decrease cravings for high calorie food, and help in weight loss. After a heavy lunch we feel sleepy. This is natural as more blood is send to the abdomen for digestion, and less blood is available for brain work. Nap during that time will facilitate better digestion and absorption of food. Increasing your total sleep time (nap time to night sleep time) is one of the quickest way to loose weight.

Myth #5: Naps impair night sleep!
Fact: Long naps will delay sleep time at night. This is normal, as your body will require less sleep at night if you sleep 1-2 hours during the day. However, many people will find it hard to fall asleep if they nap at day. If that happens, you need to do physical exercise and spend some time outdoors in evening. This will reset the body and prepare it for sleep again at night.

Myth # 6: Nap will make you lazy!
Fact: Nothing can be further from truth. Nap will renew your energy and vigor. Many leaders like Churchill, Edison, Napoleon regularly took naps and were the most productive people in history. As we work, we deplete the brain neurotransmitters which was can remake during the sleep. Naps during day make it possible for you to work long hours without getting tired.

In summary, the health benefits of nap are well proven. The body has a natural urge to sleep during the mid day some time between 1 to 4 pm which may vary. Do not fight this. If your work schedule or work space allows for nap, take the break. A short nap of 20 minutes may be enough for most. Some may benefit from longer 60 to 90-minute nap. Whatever the case, nap is good for health. It will reduce stress and fatigue. Your mind and body will thank you with improved physical and mental performance.


Dr. Panchajanya 'Panch' Paul, MD, ABIHM, ABPN, FAPA - is an American Board certified - Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He holds an adjunct faculty position at Emory University School of Medicine; University of Georgia, and University of Central Florida School of Medicine. Call 7704541252 or email georgiapsychiatry@gmail.com to schedule an appointment with Dr.Paul at Georgia Behavioral Health Professionals. He is also the author of 2 books- Stress Rescue and Sleep Coaching available at Amazon.