How Naps Can Protect Your Immune System

Updated: Oct 28


Wouldn’t it be great if you could counter the inflammation—resulting from bad sleep—straight away?


Thankfully, this is easy to do.


In this article you are going to find out how naps are good for you and what is a good nap time to get you results immediately.



If we experience bad sleep once in a while, and we want to refresh and counter the inflammation and negative effect on our immunity, a nap provides an ideal and immediate solution.

Imagine you haven’t slept at all last night...



Horny cats were at it for over an hour and your earplugs weren’t cat-proof.


Perpetrators probability rate: 98%

Then the neighbor’s dog started barking. Turns out your earplugs weren't dog-proof either. When you finally were about to fall asleep, some intoxicated individuals decided to start an after-party right across from your home.


In the end, you managed to get a whopping three hours of sleep. Because of your lack of sleep, your body produced an inflammatory response, which impaired your immune system.


The next day arrives. You’re going to be busy today, but you know that a nap would revitalize you, so you finish your to-do list as quickly as you can.

You manage to get a lot of things done and get back home at 11 a.m. You have a light lunch and then immediately lay down to take a nap.


You basically crash from exhaustion and wake up two hours later. This mid-afternoon nap reduced, to an extent, the inflammation that was built up in your body. You feel totally refreshed and get ready to head off and complete the rest of your to-do list.



The reason we know this works is because it was tested on people who stayed overnight in a laboratory setting.


How exactly was this tested?


Scientists divided people into groups. In one of the groups—which served as a reference group—people slept for their normal eight hours, while people in the other groups were deliberately deprived of their sleep; they could only sleep for two hours.


Then the scientists performed a different test for each individual group in the following 24-hour period. Every group was subjected to one of the following methods:

  1. A two-hour midafternoon nap.

  2. A thirty-minute nap in the morning and a thirty-minute nap in the afternoon.

  3. No nap, but two hours of extra sleep the next day, totaling ten hours of sleep.

  4. No nap, but a normal eight hours of sleep the next day.

  5. No nap, but a normal eight hours of sleep the next day followed by a thirty-minute nap during the day.

What were the results?


All the methods had remarkable results, and all lead to at least partly normalizing immune function, with the exception of one; method number four. (1), (2)


Although methods four and five were very similar, the added nap of method five played a very important role in normalizing the imbalanced immune system. (2)


These results show both good news and bad news.



The good news?


We can indeed catch up on our sleep and negate some of the negative effects of deficient sleep. The benefits appear even if we catch up on our sleep more than a day after our sleep deprivation.


The bad news?


It’s difficult to form an opinion on ideal nap times, because that depends on individual sleeping needs and how much we have been deprived of sleep. Future research will need to investigate that.

Bottom line:

Are naps good for you?

In short, if you suffer from insomnia, naps are greatly beneficial. Any chance you get to take a nap is well worth it to calm down the ensuing inflammation.


Longer naps may be more favorable than shorter naps, (3) but shorter naps will at least be able to alleviate some pressure from your immune system...


Especially if you nap more than once during a day.


Want to improve the quality of your sleep instead?

Check related articles below.


Every week new immune health tips come out, which we will release on our blog and in our newsletter. They are inspired by my upcoming book: Immunity Hi, Virus Bye-Bye.

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