Q: Is taking naps good or bad?

Q: Is taking naps good or bad?

Asked by Charles

Karen’s thoughts:

Studies have shown that napping is good for older people above the age of 60.

And polyphasic napping, if you can master it (I have never been able to), will give you much more free time in your endeavours.

But if you’re an adult with insomnia, napping is bad — and napping will exacerbate your sleeplessness. Plan instead to get a full night’s sleep. Avoid napping in the day at all costs. If napping in the day is the only decent sleep you get, it will undoubtedly be at the expense of a proper full night’s sleep. Sacrifice the nap, not the night.

You should never plan to get a nap on the train, but don’t get into a panic if you do. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, use it as a reason to give yourself a little pep-talk to bolster your confidence. ‘Look how well I slept on the train!’ tell yourself, ‘I never used to be able to sleep like that’, ‘I must be getting better’, ‘I should be able to sleep like that at home too’.

But don’t let the naps become the norm — or they will begin to drastically affect your chances of sleeping at night. If you consistently find it impossible to stay awake on the train or bus, lengthen your time in bed by half an hour and see if this helps. Sacrifice the nap for the sake of a full night’s sleep.