Sleep Better, Perform Better: The Science behind Napping for Insomnia

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Insomnia is common and draining, but napping can actually help. Insomnia leads to low mood, difficulty concentrating and low performance even when doing simple activities. Psychotherapy for insomnia is an effective treatment too. For example, there is a lot of evidence that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT for Insomnia is effective and takes as little as six sessions. However, sometimes insomnia is the result of Anxiety and Depression and you may need psychotherapy for those before insomnia goes away. In these cases, psychotherapy may last longer.

How to Nap If You Have Insomnia

Against popular advice, napping in the day can help improve performance. It may also not be so bad for your night sleep if you follow the following advice. Not just that, importantly, napping can also reduce the risk of accidents without worsening your symptoms.

A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research suggested that if you have insomnia, you could make the most of your naps by using the following advice:

  • Nap between 20 and 45 minutes. Napping for less will not give you any benefit, and napping for more will disrupt your nighttime sleep.
  • Take a nap between 1 PM and 4 PM. Sleeping after 4 PM will disrupt your nighttime sleep.
  • If you work a night shift, nap between 2 hours and 30 minutes before the start of your shift for best results.

Other studies suggest that having a coffee before your nap can help you feel even more alert. If you are more alert after a nap, your performance will also improve. Now, if your mind is too alert when trying to have a nap, try listening to some relaxing music or practice mindfulness. If you are still finding it hard to relax in bed, then get up and do something relaxing. Having a warm shower can help. Staying in bed is likely to make you feel more frustrated.

You can learn more useful skills and techniques to overcome insomnia by talking to a specialist mental health practitioner.