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What Are Depression Naps?

by BetterSleep
Jun 21 • 4 min read
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Depression napping is a term that has been trending on social media. Users post about taking depression naps, but not everyone realizes this can indicate serious mental health issues. Napping during the day doesn’t always indicate depression, but it can. If you feel the urge to sleep during the day most days, talk to your doctor about what might be causing it.

Depression and Sleep

Unhealthy sleep patterns are common in depression and key symptoms of the condition. This includes both insomnia and too little sleep as well as oversleeping, called hypersomnia. According to research, young women are most affected by hypersomnia during depressive episodes. Forty percent of young adults with depression have hypersomnia, while just 10% of older patients experience it.

Hypersomnia is characterized by excessive sleepiness during the day. It can occur even with adequate nighttime sleep. Hypersomnia is often accompanied by other symptoms, including low energy, irritability, anxiety, difficulty thinking, headaches, and appetite loss.

Depression Napping

Many people who experience hypersomnia, referred to as a depression nap this is not typical napping. It is long periods of napping on multiple days, often every day during a depressive episode.

Are Depression Naps Harmful or Helpful?

If you feel the urge to take a nap, doing so can be a healthy way to perk up and get some energy. Healthy napping has specific characteristics:

  • Short duration. A nap shouldn’t be longer than 10 or 20 minutes. If you are otherwise healthy, this should be plenty of time to reduce fatigue and help you feel more alert and awake.
  • Smart timing. You shouldn’t be napping in the late afternoon or evening. This will make falling asleep later more challenging and can interfere with your nighttime sleep quality and duration.
  • Feeling refreshed. A healthy nap should leave you feeling refreshed, alert, more focused, and less fatigued or tired. It might take a few minutes to wake up fully, but if you still don’t feel rested, there could be a problem.

If your napping habits fall outside of this healthy range, there is reason to be concerned. You might have depression or a sleep disorder, both of which can be treated.

Does Napping Always Indicate Depression?

Excessive napping or hypersomnia don’t necessarily indicate you have depression. Some people have hypersomnia without depression, and researchers believe there could be a genetic component to it.

Napping a lot could also mean that you’re not getting enough sleep at night or you are getting low-quality sleep. Poor sleep can trigger symptoms that seem like depression: fatigue, difficulty concentrating or getting tasks done, lethargy, and irritability.

Many social media users have made a joke out of depression napping, but it’s a serious subject. It’s important to recognize changes in your sleeping habits and to see your doctor if napping begins to interfere with your normal activities. Effective treatments are available for depression that help reduce symptoms, including hypersomnia.

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