Are Naps Good For You?

I think I speak for many of us when I say that naps are becoming a key portion to college survival. Personally, I have always been bad at naps because they always kept me up all night, leaving me to regret the decision later. But I will say that I tend to nap more frequently now that I’m in college. It’s not much but it’s more than usual. I was researching why I am so bad at napping, when I came across a Smithsonian article about naps hiding some underlying medical problems, which got me reading.

I’ll start off by saying that it isn’t the naps that are bad for our health. In fact, many studies have shown that naps are good for our bodies and give us that extra boost of energy during the day. But it’s the health concerns that cause us to nap that are the problem. People may choose to nap on a daily basis thinking nothing of it, just that they are tired or stressed and a nap will ease the pain. But, there could be problem2607621162_13ece1c44cs causing fatigue and leading them to nap.

Cambridge University found that those who take naps during the day that last an hour or longer may die at younger ages than those who skip naps. They add that smaller naps of about 30 minutes or so were not associated with any health problems and did indeed add that extra energy boost.

The researchers chose an observational study route by following 16,000 British men and women ages 40-79 over 13 years. During this time, researchers questioned napping habits and put them into three different groups: people who napped for less than an hour a day; people who napped for more than an hour a day, and people who did not nap at all. Controlled factors included gender, socioeconomic status, alcohol intake, and mental illness.

Through the study they found that those who napped for an hour or longer were 32% more likely to have died than those who didn’t nap at all. Death causes varied but included heart disease, cancer, and respiratory illness. Essentially, researchers couldn’t find an exact link between long naps and death risk, but they concluded that extended daytime fatigue could be because of hidden heath issues.

And if you’re struggling to decide whether or not to take a nap, Time looked a little bit deeper into the issue. Dr. Sara Mednick said to ask yourself if you really NEED the nap and why you are taking it. One of the researchers on the Cambridge study agrees, saying that this might help combat any of those underlying issues.

The Cambridge study was very large indeed. It looked at a wide variety of people and overall, was well conducted. However, because this was a British study, there could be differences when it comes to Americans and nap patterns. In addition, since they have not been able to put their finger on a definite link between the two, there isn’t sufficient evidence to keep people from napping. And because we are not in the age range studied (40-79) I think naps will be just fine for us, for now.

5 thoughts on “Are Naps Good For You?

  1. Alexandra Herr

    After reading this article, I believe that the correlation between college students and napping is lost. For the most part, college students are napping because of their tiredness due to their lack of sleep during the night. On average, college kids get 6 to 6.9 hours of sleep per night when they really need 6 to 10 hours. This lack of sleep is most likely causing drowsiness during the day, giving a reason to rest between or after classes. USAToday is even quoted saying “naps are essential to the college lifestyle”. It is interesting, however, to actually see stated how those who nap are more likely to be sick. This seems like such an obvious statistic of life, but I have overlooked it, as I’m sure many others have also. I’m also curious if the reason those who napped more were more likely to die earlier is because they are less physically active. That would be an interesting thing to look into!

  2. Julia Hall

    This post is really interesting. I personally have a really hard time napping and only nap when I am extremely tired. I never thought that napping could lead to earlier death rates. I agree with your conclusion stating that their could be a culture barrier however Americans and the British population don’t live very different life styles so I would think that these findings could very likely relate to us.

  3. Dongyuan Li

    Hi. I alwayls like to take a nap during the noon. It makes me feel I have more energy in the afternoon. Actually when I was in senior high school my school design madantory noon nap for us. I formed the habit to take a nap since then. Actually there are three kinds of napping. Planned napping, emergncy napping and habitual napping. Mine is habitual napping which is take a nap at the same time every day. Planned napping is that you presee that you will sleepy at what time and you plan to take a nap. Emergency is you sudddenly feel sleepy, just like the name.Here is the linkwe can learn more

  4. Benjamin N Seltzer

    Very interesting post! I never imagined that taking a nap could be this harmful. I wonder what the mechanism for the >1 hour nap causing earlier death is? Do you think it could be that those people who tend to take long naps are just generally less active people, and will die younger because they are just less fit people, or people who have exceedingly boring lives, causing them to have no real will to live a long, healthy life?

  5. Karly Grace Kneidinger

    I love naps. I do try to limit when i take them though. I often find myself even more groggy and tired after taking naps, usually when they are longer than an hour. I agree that more research should be done on the study because I disagree that a nap could lead to death, that seems a bit extreme. Is it also possible that the first study could just be due to chance? It seems as though there needs to be more research and evidence on the matter.

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