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This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 5 months ago.

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  • #27540

    ✘ Not a client

    Dear all,

    How good are you at napping (sleeping during the day), and if yes, do you factor in your nap time into your total sleep time?

    For some reason I’ve never been able to nap during the day, not even as a kid. Everyone else would power nap after school, but not me. So, the sleep that I get at night is all that I can get, and that created a lot of pressure through my life. Even when I miss the whole night, I have to wait for the next one in order to try again.

    Weird, I know, and also, seems to me, pretty rare? From what I can read on forums and such, even insomniacs have to “force themselves to stay awake” through the day while going through SR.

    This problem can be rough, but it wasn’t a huge deal back when my bad nights were intermittent, i.e. when they weren’t an everyday occurance like they are now.

    Now that my night sleep is insufficient EVERY TIME (and that is with pills), the idea of napping is constantly on my mind. “I wish I was able to, if I could just…”

    So, when you  say that you sleep for, say, 3 hrs a day, or that you have 0 sleep nights, do you make up for some of that lost sleep with naps? Sleeping for only 3 hrs a night is bad, but if it is followed by several 20-min naps through the day, then it doesn’t sound as bad as before (although it is still far from good, I know.)

    I sleep between 5.5 and 6.5 hrs a day. As I’ve discussed with Mac, some would say that this can be interpreted as normal, but it isn’t enough for me. I know that one of the advice of CBT is to “avoid naps”, but I feel a short nap would do wonders for my sleep, as well as for my health.

    Thanks, Eddy


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Edgar,

    Ill chime in. I think everyone is different. Some are able to nap whenever, wherever and for as long as they feel like. As a teenager this was the case. As I got older my naps would be fairly regular. Almost daily but they would be 20 minute power naps which I found increased my alertness and worked much better than coffee. Now that I am having sleep difficulties and doing CBT-I, I am avoiding naps unless I need to and when I do they feel different. It is less reliable that I do actually nap. Sometimes I would get frustrated that I didn’t fall asleep.

    What I do do if I am able to and feel really tired is to lay down and that’s it. Lay down and set aside 20-30 minutes. If I lay down with the intention to just lay there, I often do power nap. If I lay down to nap or sleep then I don’t fall asleep and get more anxious.

    With CBT-I, there are some that say avoid naps and others that say napping is fine as long as it’s no longer than 20 minutes and before 3PM. What I do is I do avoid naps during the week. On weekends I have more idle time which makes it harder to stay awake. If I do get the urge, I do set aside 30 minutes and lay down. If I dose off I dose off, if I don’t I don’t.

    Also keep in mind it is common that those who are sleep deprived to experience sleep state misperception. This means that it is possible that at times you do sleep but when you get up you really do feel like you didn’t sleep. I’ve had my wife say I fell asleep and was snoring but I really felt like I just laid there.


    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you for the answer, delv,

    Yeah, I’m sure that a short nap does far more for alertness than 10 cups coffee would do. As someone once said – the only cure for insomnia is to get more sleep.

    I think napping is meant to be a part of everyone’s day. After all, it’s a well known fact that humans never slept in consolidated blocks before, but rather in many shorter periods throughout the day.

    I’ve heard of the 20-min rule, yes. And also that sleeping longer than that can make you feel groggy instead of rested. Still, what I wouldn’t give for an hour of sleep in the afternoon. 🙁

    I’ve also heard of sleep state misperception, but I doubt that I am liable to that. Even if I am, it would be in the night. At day, I just get nervous/anxious and certainly don’t sleep a wink. I’ve even tried with Valium once, after a nil sleep night, and I still couldn’t relax enough to drift off. I think it’s due to the fact that I an the kind of guy who needs peace for sleep, and there are always things happening around you during daytime.

    If I understood corectly, CBT-I actually diminished the quality of your naps, the ones you do take?

    I like your advice on just resting and closing my eyes for half an hour. It’s something I’ve been meaning to start doing , but I never do. Instead I rough it out until night comes and always hope that that will be the night things change back to normal, that I wake up after the birds, not before them. I am an eternal optimist!

    Oh and hang in the with your CBT journey. Its tough our brains are our enemies.



    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks for the support on my CBT journey. It’s not easy! It’s hard and frustrating and hoping to be able to sleep in until my desired wake up time and not hours before.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hello Edgar and welcome to the forum.

    Most people don’t routinely take naps during the day because they get sufficient sleep at night and don’t feel sleepy during the day. People with untreated chronic insomnia are rarely excessively sleepiness — instead, they tend to have a problem with fatigue.

    Healthy sleepers nap to reduce sleepiness — not for sleep itself. For example, if I am driving for four hours and feel very sleepy I will pull over and have a half-hour nap to reduce this sleepiness. I am not napping because I want to sleep at that moment in time.

    If your ultimate goal is to get more sleep at night, it’s important to bear in mind that time spent asleep during the day will reduce sleep drive and can lead to less sleep at night.

    When you implement sleep restriction, the goal is to increase sleepiness (and sleep drive) so that when you go to bed, you fall asleep faster, and you spend more time in bed asleep rather than awake.

    You mentioned that you think napping is meant to be a part of everyone’s day. I don’t know any healthy sleepers who regularly nap. This would, of course, be different if I lived somewhere like Spain where siestas are part of the culture — but I don’t think people in ‘siesta culture’ nations nap because of any pressure to do so. They nap because they want to, and it is something they are accustomed to.

    If you aren’t accustomed to naps, there is no need to feel you should be taking them — and they can actually be unhelpful if you struggle to sleep at night.

    I hope this helps!


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi, Martin,

    Sorry for no response, I didn’t check my question after a while of inactivity.

    “People with untreated chronic insomnia are rarely excessively sleepiness — instead, they tend to have a problem with fatigue.”

    This. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I am never sleepy, but always fatigued. I suppose you’re right, you should be sleepy in order to take a nap.

    But,by being unable to nap, I’ve been applying sleep restriction my whole life by default. And it worked fine until it stopped, and I started waking up too early no matter when – weekends, holidays…

    What should I do when SR doesn’t work, AND I can’t make up for lost sleep? I guess medication is then the only way to go, even though I already use 2.5 mg of Valium and 5 mg of melatonin, and I’ve tried a couple of sleeping pills which didn’t work.

    Slrry for the rant, Martin, you’re doing a great job with this forum.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Thanks for your kind words about the forum, Edgar!

    Sleep restriction works because it makes sure that sleep drive can build and reach a point that sleep becomes inevitable. However, sleep restriction doesn’t work if combined with naps, because naps reduce sleep pressure.

    The body makes up for lost sleep itself (in other words, sleep becomes increasingly more likely the longer we go without sleep). Problems only tend to occur when we try to intervene and control sleep.

    Usually, the best thing we can do is set the stage for sleep (for example by allotting an appropriate amount of time for sleep and getting out of bed when we can’t sleep) but give up any attempt to control it.

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