The main difference between nap and sleep is that naps are short (about 20 – 30 minutes) while sleep is longer, usually more than 6 hours.
Sleep is the natural state of rest in which your eyes are closed, your body is inactive, and your mind does not think. We usually sleep at night. A nap is a short sleep, usually during the day. When you have had not enough sleep during the night, and feel tired and unable to continue with your work, you can take a nap to improve your mood and performance.
Key Areas Covered
Nap, Sleep, Resting
What is Nap
Nap is a short sleep, especially during the day. It’s similar to closing your eyes and taking a break. Naps are usually taken as a response to drowsiness. A short nap, around 20 -30 minutes, can help you to improve your alertness, mood and performance. There are different types of naps.
Planned/ preparatory napping involves taking a nap before you get sleepy. You can use this technique when you know that you will have to be up later than your usual bedtime. Emergency napping is napping when you are suddenly very tired and cannot continue with the activity you were originally engaged in. Moreover, habitual napping is napping at the same time each time. For example, small children will fall sleep at the same time each afternoon, or adults may take a short nap after lunch, as a habit.
However, if you take a nap too late in the day, it might end up affecting your sleep pattern and make it difficult for you to fall asleep at the regular bedtime. Moreover, longer naps (usually lasting more than an hour) can make you feel groggy and disoriented.
What is Sleep
Sleep is the resting stage where the body is not active, and the mind is unconscious. Sleep occurs in repeating periods, and the body alternates between two distinct modes during sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep.
Sleep is classified into distinct stages. These stages proceed as a cycle, and these cycles usually occur more than once every night as a person sleep. Stage 1 is a light sleep from which we can be awoken easily. Here, our eyes move slowly, and our muscle activity slows down. Stage 2 is actually the beginning of sleep as perceived by the person sleeping. Stage 3 and 4 are deep sleep. REM sleep comes after these four stages. Dreams, which are a well-known feature of sleep, usually occur in this fifth stage. A complete sleep cycle typically takes 90 to 110 minutes.
The amount of sleep needed varies among individuals. People usually require 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. However, some can function with less than 6 hours of sleep while some need around 12 hours of sleep. Not having enough sleep can create various problems such as illnesses, trouble with thinking and concentration, memory issues, etc.
Difference Between Nap and Sleep
Sleep is the resting stage where the body is not active, and the mind is unconscious, while nap is a short sleep, especially during the day.
An individual requires at least 6 hours of sleep per day while naps are short and last for about 30 minutes.
Several sleep cycles occur during one-night sleep; however, a nap doesn’t allow a complete cycle.
REM vs non-REM
Sleep includes both REM and non-REM sleep while naps usually only involve non-REM sleep.
Sleep is the resting stage where the body is not active, and the mind is unconscious, while nap is a short sleep, especially during the day. The main difference between nap and sleep is that naps are short (about 20 – 30 minutes) while sleep is longer, usually more than 6 hours.