Naps: Healthy or Not?

Imagine you are part of a debate club at school, in which teams argue for and against different positions on interesting topics. To practice for an upcoming debate about napping, you will write a formal essay arguing whether or not naps are generally good for people. Use evidence from the sources to support your argument and to address the opposite point of view.

“How Much Sleep is Enough?”


By The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute

The amount of sleep you need each day will change over the course of your life. Although sleep needs vary from person to person, the list below shows general recommendations for different age groups.

  • Newborns – Recommended 16-18 hours a day
  • Preschool-aged children – Recommended 11-12 hours a day
  • School-aged children – Recommended at least 10 hours a day
  • Teens – Recommended 9-10 hours a day
  • Adults (including the elderly) – Recommended 7-8 hours a day

If you routinely lose sleep or choose to sleep less than needed, the sleep loss adds up. The total sleep lost is called your sleep debt. For example, if you lose 2 hours of sleep each night, you’ll have a sleep debt of 14 hours after a week.

Some people nap as a way to deal with sleepiness. Naps provide a short-term boost in alertness and performance. However, napping doesn’t provide all the other benefits of nighttime sleep. Thus, you can’t really make up for lost sleep.

Some people sleep more on their days off than on work days. They also may go to bed later and get up later on days off.

Sleeping more on days off might be a sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep. Although extra sleep on days off might help you feel better, it can upset your body’s sleep-wake rhythm.

Bad sleep habits and long-term sleep loss will affect your health. If you’re worried about whether you’re getting enough sleep, try using a sleep diary for a couple of weeks.

Write down how much you sleep each night, how alert and rested you feel in the morning, and how sleepy you feel during the day.

Sleeping when your body is ready to sleep is also very important. Sleep deficiency can affect people even when they sleep the total number of hours recommended for their age group.

For example, people whose sleep is out of sync with their body clocks (such as shift workers) or [is] routinely interrupted (such as caregivers or emergency responders) might need to pay special attention to their sleep needs.