Napping and Diabetes: It’s Mostly Good News
It’s kind of annoying that some scientists decided to study naps. You have to know they discovered something unhealthy about them—but the news is not all bad.
An analysis of scientific napping data revealed there is no harm in napping up to 40 minutes each day. However, long naps of 60 minutes or more are associated with a 46 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Scientists are unsure why extensive naps and diabetes are linked. The connection might be owed to health problems that prevent a good night’s sleep, or maybe long naps disrupt our body’s daily cycles. Whatever the connection, it seems that we are better off napping wisely.
The Mayo Clinic cites several benefits of napping including reduced fatigue, feeling more relaxed, improved mood, and increased alertness. A nap can also enhance our performance, memory, and reaction time while reducing mistakes and accidents.
The clinic’s four recommendations for beneficial napping are:
- Nap for just 10 to 30 minutes since people tend to feel groggy when they nap longer.
- If possible, nap around two or three o’clock in the afternoon. Naps enjoyed mid-afternoon do not typically interfere with nighttime sleep. Mid afternoon is also when most people notice a dip in their energy or focus.
- Nap in a comfortable and quiet, darkened room that is free, or nearly free, from distractions.
- Allow yourself adequate time to wake up from your siesta before resuming work, or other activity.
Though some of us find naps to be delicious and rejuvenating, they are not for everyone. Some people feel worse after napping (e.g., groggy, disoriented, grouchy), or find taking naps make it more difficult to doze off at night. If that sounds like you, your wisdom will be to avoid sleeping midday. Maybe engage in a relaxing activity such as 20 minutes of gentle yoga, or a walk, instead.
People who notice an increase in daytime sleepiness, fatigue, or find they are napping more than an hour each day, should consult with their doctor. A sleep disorder or other medical condition could be interfering with slumber at night.