Can You Dream While Napping?

Taking a quick nap might seem like the perfect way to recharge a bit of energy in the middle of an exhausting day. But depending on the time of day and the length of time you spend napping, your body could be faced with different results. This is because there are different stages of sleep that your brain and body go through during a normal overnight cycle. This begs the question of healthy vs. unhealthy sleep: can you dream while napping?

Can You Dream While Napping?

You might dream when you nap, but should you? Your sleep doctor in NYC can help you understand what type of napping will recharge you instead of hurting you for the rest of the day. There are five stages of sleep in total that you should know about! And they can help explain how you dream while napping.

Stage 1: Falling Asleep

Naturally, this is the first stage of sleep. This is a period of time that can last 5-10 minutes and include a shift between waking and sleeping. The muscles will relax, some may twitch, and your overall breathing patterns will start to slow down.

Stage 2: Light Sleep

As soon as you have officially fallen asleep, the rest of your body starts to relax. Your heart rate will start to slow down, as will your blood flow. As a result, your body temperature will start to cool off. This is how your body starts to get itself ready for deep sleep. It is a miniature, short-term version of the hibernation process that animals prepare for before sleeping for several months at a time.

Stage 3 and Stage 4: Deep Sleep

Both stages 3 and 4 are the “deep sleep” parts of the sleep experience. This is also called delta sleep, as the body receives messaging through delta waves while it is dreaming. This is the period of sleep with the highest arousal activity, including rapid-eye movement and body twitching.

Stage 5: REM Sleep

REM sleep also occurs during the stages of deep sleep as the heart rate starts to speed up again. During this time, the body acts like it’s awake even though it is asleep. It usually takes up to 60 minutes for this type of sleep to hit the body; if you are hitting REM sleep in a short amount of time (especially during your naps), then you may be sleep-deprived.

The Ideal Nap: 90 Minutes of Rest

The full sleep cycle should take 90 minutes. If you can sleep for that period of time, then you may experience a brief moment of dreaming before waking up naturally again. A shorter nap could put you at risk of disrupting your sleep cycle, which will make you feel groggy and sick after you wake up. This could make you feel icky for the rest of the day; let alone, you may not feel like going to sleep when your normal bedtime arrives.

When to Nap During the Day

The best time for you to nap during the day actually depends on what time you usually go to sleep – and when you wake up. If you are a night owl who likes to stay up past midnight, then you should take a nap starting between 2 PM and 3 PM during the day. Early birds might want to take a nap starting between 1 PM and 2 PM. The most important thing to avoid is that midday feeling of fatigue and drowsiness that will destroy your ability to work for the rest of the afternoon.

Find the Healthiest Sleep-Wake Schedule Today!

At Sleep MD NYC, we can help you find that perfect balance in your sleep schedule to keep you feeling productive during the day. It’s okay to need a nap, but you might want to do it in the afternoon for at least 90 minutes. Otherwise, you could put your entire sleep schedule at risk. Reach out to us today to learn more about the most innovative solutions for insomnia treatment in New York City that can get your sleep schedule back on track.

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