Power Naps or Depression Alert? How to Tell the Difference

Amy Christie


Photo by Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay.com

There is a close connection between sleep patterns and mental health. Too much sleep and frequent naps during the day could be a sign of underlying depression and feeling low most of the time.

Napping is usually a way to recharge so you can get back to your regular activities or it can be a way to recover part of your nighttime sleep if you didn’t get much shuteye. Unfortunately, trying to nap when feeling down is not a good remedy to improve your mood, nor will it make the difficulties you are facing seem less daunting.

Naps as disguised depression

Napping too often is not necessarily a serious issue, but you do need to address your wellbeing. There is a fine line between normal tiredness and depression. It could be that exhaustion gives you the impression that you might be depressed when in fact you are wiped out of energy and need a refresher.

How to realize if your naps are simply extra sleep hours

It’s essential to think things over and decide if you are dealing with sleep deprivation or depression. Your work schedule, any overtime you put in, house chores, or your parenting responsibilities can take up most of your time and you could easily end up sleeping less than you should at night.

Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night to avoid feeling drowsy in the daytime. Do a quick internal checkup each time you find yourself thinking about the next nap. Sleepiness is easy to spot since it makes you feel you could start dreaming right now, no matter where you’re sitting or what you’re currently doing.

In case you are dealing with true sleep deprivation you need to take action. Rev up your sleep hygiene, try to relax more, and aim for a clear routine before going to bed every night.

Depression will make itself noticed in different ways. It’s associated with a low appetite, losing interest in the things that sparked your laughter, having difficulty being creative or spontaneous, and finding it very hard to perform normal daily activities. An increasing need to nap coupled with these symptoms can be a cause for concern.

How easy is it to spot depression naps?

It’s not simple at all. There are many causes that can create burnout, hopelessness, socialization avoidance, or just a general low mood. It’s more about noticing if you don’t feel joy for the things that used to bring you happiness or if you have very few days when you think you get a chance to accomplish your dreams and goals.

How to cope

Continuing to nap even after you recognized this can be a red flag for depression is not a bad thing. You don’t have to favor fatigue. It is ok to rest and try to find more energy. The important thing is not to let the naps go on for too long. 30 minutes for a nap is the ideal limit to make sure you only reap the benefits. If you sleep for an hour or longer it could affect your nighttime sleep, impact the way you react to complicated issues you are faced with, and make you more tense.

Napping is the way to positively reframe your surroundings and your inner struggles. Don’t use it to evade your life or to imagine you are completely set apart from what’s going on. Stay involved and you will have a better chance to take charge of your life and solve whatever it is that’s making you uncomfortable or causing doubts and uncertainty.

Rediscover motivation

Don’t let depression edge its way into your life and find reasons to smile more often. Naps are a way to get over sleep deprivation as long as you make them work for you. Getting rest for a little while will increase your focus, help you move on, and beat any regrets or negative emotions at the back of your mind.

When should you worry?

If you find yourself constantly alert, even while napping and have a chronically low mood you should consider speaking to a professional. Ruling out health conditions, checking in about your mental wellbeing, and having your feelings heard will do you good. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Getting the support you need at the right time can stop more serious issues in their tracks, give you hope, and make you see that there are still so many good things to live and discover in your life journey.

Hope and be thankful you are here. Just being alive is cause for happiness. You don’t get to live your life twice. Make the most of the here and now!

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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