Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: nap | napping | insomnia | sleeping

Is Napping Harmful?

Friday, 27 Jul 2012 09:19 AM


Question: I’m a man in my 70s and I take a short nap almost every day after lunch. I sometimes, but not always, have trouble sleeping at night. My wife says this is because of my nap. But my nap lasts for only a half hour at most. What do you think?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
While taking a nap can be a great way to recharge, especially for older adults, it can make sleep difficult at night. You might want to eliminate napping altogether. An early-in-the-day nap for 30 minutes suits most older adults while others need 90 minutes or so. Remember, in Spain, it is common to have siesta periods early in the afternoon. These periods of rest are felt to be beneficial for those that can find a way to fit a rest period into their daily schedule.
Feel free to experiment with different sleep and wake times: Go to bed at the same time every night and allow yourself to sleep until you wake up naturally. Make a consistent effort to relax and unwind before going to bed. This will send a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down. Relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching, and deep breathing can help promote sleep. Your daytime eating and exercise habits can also play a role in how well you sleep. Make dinnertime earlier in the evening. Avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Avoid alcohol. Avoid caffeine excess use and especially curb it use after 3 p.m. daily. Schedule your exercise in the morning or early afternoon, never before bed. Use your bedroom for sleep only, not for work. Watch TV and use the computer in other areas. Clean up your "sleep hygiene," and you will teach your body to anticipate restful sleep in the same way that we condition ourselves for eating when the pleasant smell of cooking food sets off salivation.




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Napping is beneficial for many people, but it can cause insomnia in some.
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2012-19-27
Friday, 27 Jul 2012 09:19 AM
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