This article will explain what post-nap depression is, and why people may feel like that after they take a nap. Along with that, the article will show what are ways for people to have a better nap, and how to cope with post-nap depression.
What is post-nap depression?
Taking a nap is something that should be pleasurable. When a person takes a nap, they expect to feel re-energized, rested, and ready to do the things they still need to do during the rest of the day.
But that is not what happens every time, and some people may wake up feeling worse, it can be unpleasant, and people might feel something similar to depression. You can feel disoriented, and guilty. Aside from that, you might feel even more tired, and your cognitive functions can be impaired for some time.
All of those are symptoms that are common in clinical depression. So when connected to how a person wakes up from a nap, it is possible to say someone has post-nap depression.
But going through those symptoms after a nap is not a sign of clinical depression, it is just a sign you should consider what are the benefits you are getting from your nap and what ways to have a better nap.
Why do people experience post-nap depression?
Post-nap depression can be caused by some reasons. People may assume that taking a long nap can cause them to experience post-nap depression. But that is not necessarily true.
Even though taking a long nap can make you feel extremely guilty because you lost so many hours of your day, it doesn’t mean that it will cause you post-nap depression. What is important is to realize what your need for sleep is.
Being that it can differ between a person who is sleep-deprived and a person that slept well the night before. Research has shown how the length of the nap differs from one person to the other. Through it, it was learned that people who nap in the afternoon usually need a 10 to 20 minutes nap.
This is usually enough for you to recover your cognitive performance. But when talking about workers that do a nighttime shift, when they take a 10 to 20 minutes nap in the middle of the night, they can feel even worse afterward. And this might make it easier for them to experience post-nap behavior.
So you should analyze how you have been after the nap, and how your night of sleep has been. If you realize taking long naps causes you to have post-nap depression, you might want to do a shorter one. Let’s discuss ways to cope with post-nap depression.
How can I cope with post-nap depression?
If you notice that taking a nap has been having a more negative effect on you than a positive one, you should try to question yourself if that is a necessity. If you have a good night of sleep, it might be important to skip the nap.
Even if you feel a bit tired during the day, not taking a nap will allow you to have a better night of sleep. The same is said if you are experiencing insomnia during the night.
But if you feel extremely tired, it doesn’t matter if it is day or night, you might want to get an appointment with a professional. Discuss what are ways to feel more energized, and if that is present in every aspect of your life, it can be a sign of an underlying condition.
For you to feel better from post-nap depression, you might want to follow these suggestions.
Set your schedule
Set your schedule and define how long your nap will be. Don’t make it too long, if your nap is too long, it can take longer for you to be fully awake. Remember 10 to 20 minutes is usually enough.
You should also try to take a nap as early in the afternoon as you can. This will give you enough time to get tired to sleep at night, and waking up when the sun is still up will help your body understand it is still necessary to work.
Get out of bed as soon as you wake up
Sometimes when you take a nap you might want to lay around for a while. But it is important to get up as soon as you wake up. Staying in bed can make it harder for your senses to go back, which can affect your cognitive functions.
So as you wake up, open the window and let your body know it isn’t bedtime, and there is still a lot to be done.
Do something that makes you feel energized after you wake up
After you wake up, it might be a good idea to not only open the window but do something that makes you feel energized. It can be washing your face or drinking a glass of water.
Not only that, you can do some light stretching, go for a short walk, or listen to some music you like. This will cause you to feel more energetic, less guilty, more oriented, and in a better mood.
Consider a coffee nap
Although it might seem strange, having some coffee before your nap can make you wake up more energized. This happens because the coffee needs from 30 to 60 minutes to quick in on your system.
So it will be at its peak as you wake up. So set your schedule to have your coffee a little before napping, but not too long before, so it can prevent you from napping.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What is post-nap depression?
What is the difference between feeling sleepy and fatigued?
Sleepiness is when a person feels an intense desire to fall asleep. They happen more often when a person is sleep deprived or doesn’t have a good quality sleep during the night. This seems to only get better when a person manages to take some time to sleep, and wake up energized after.
Differently, from that, fatigue is more related to being tired, with low energy, or even exhausted. People who feel fatigued can feel their body heavy and may find it hard to get the energy to do what they need to. It speaks to exhaustion that can be physical as well as mental.
Unlike feeling sleepy, fatigue can be related to many conditions. It can be caused by depression or even hypothyroidism. Some types of cancer are also related to fatigue. What is important to keep in mind is that fatigue doesn’t cause people to sleep.
They can lay down, rest, or even take a short nap, but they don’t fall asleep and don’t feel better after sleep.
Does napping make me more depressed?
When a person is depressed, sleeping can turn into a defense mechanism. It can be a way you avoid the negative thoughts running through your head. It can also be that depression takes up all of your energy, you feel fatigued, and taking naps can seem like a way to feel better.
Napping doesn’t necessarily cause you to feel more depressed, but it might be something that contributes to your depression not getting better. The greater part of depression can feel somewhat better with some lifestyle changes. Going for short walks, being around people that support you, all those things can be positive.
So when you just nap all day, you avoid living some positive experiences that wouldn’t make you better from one moment to the next, but they could, little by little, bring you some sense of connectedness, joy, and well-being, which are extremely important when coping with depression.
What is sleep inertia?
Sleep inertia is the feeling of grogginess and disorientation that can impair people right after they wake up. It usually lasts from 15 to 60 minutes after a person wakes up, but some people can feel it for a few hours after waking up.
Researchers don’t know what causes sleep inertia, but it may be a protective mechanism that prevents people from being fully awake once they experience unwanted wakings during the night.
Sleep inertia can be dangerous for people that work long hours, or that usually work in changing shifts. This is because working in this manner you can have many changes in your sleep pattern, which can impact your reaction time, making it slower.
Along with that, you may become less alert, and this can cause many more work-related injuries.
What is hypersomnia?
Hypersomnia is a condition in which a person feels too sleepy during the day. This can happen because a person has problems in the brain system that controls sleep and waking up. It might also be related to lack of sleep or low quality of it.
For example, it can be connected to sleep apnea. When a person has this condition, they can have trouble breathing which causes them to wake up multiple times during the night. Along with that, some medications can cause hypersomnia, along with the abuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as low thyroid function and head injury.
People with hypersomnia can feel low energy, more irritability, and anxiety. They can also lose their appetite, have slow thinking and speaking patterns. It can affect their memory, making it hard for them to remember things, and make it harder for them to relax.
A person can discover they have hypersomnia through maintaining a sleep diary, this will help you keep tabs on the quality and duration of your sleep. Going to a doctor that will analyze your quality of sleep in one of those sleep centers can help you get the diagnosis.
What are the main symptoms of depression?
Depression and many symptoms, and people can manifest it in different ways. But it usually causes people to feel intense sadness. They also have less energy, their ability to focus is lower, and they lose interest in doing things they love.
A person with depression can feel more irritable, fatigued, and guilty. They can isolate themselves, and cry excessively. Their eating and sleeping patterns also change, and they can consider self-harm, along with having thoughts about death and suicidal thoughts.
This article explained the concept of post-nap depression. What it can feel like for people, and how people can have a better nap quality. Along with that, the article discussed how post-nap depression differs from depression, and how people can cope with it.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.