Are Naps Good for People with Sleep Apnea?

naps and sleep apnea

Generally, taking a small nap during the day can have several benefits. They can not only reduce drowsiness and sleepiness but can also help you focus better on your tasks, make it easier to retain information, help you control your mood and emotions and improve critical thinking and learning, among others.

When it comes to people with sleep apnea, however, taking naps in the day might not be a great idea. Let’s understand why this is so.

Naps and Sleep Apnea

If you have sleep apnea, you are likely to feel drowsier and sleepier the next day. This is because your sleep apnea can interrupt your sleep significantly since your brain keeps waking you up to open up your airway properly again to deal with the irregular breathing that otherwise takes place.

Because of this, you are bound to feel more tired the next day since your healthy sleep requirements are not fulfilled. This can lead to you taking more and longer naps during the day to regain some energy.

While this can help you out to get through the day itself, it can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep at night, causing you to repeat the cycle every day. When it comes to sleep apnea, it is better to collect some sleep debt so that it becomes easier for you to get proper sleep at night.

Further, taking a nap during the day can keep adding to how tired you feel since you might experience apnea during your nap as well. This can keep you in a constant state of fatigue and tiredness, preventing you from carrying out your regular tasks while also decreasing focus and concentration.

This can then increase the overall chances of strokes, heart diseases, diabetes, chronic depression, anxiety and more. Thus, you should try to avoid taking naps if you have sleep apnea, especially if you do not use a CPAP machine or are not yet used to it.

Naps and CPAP

In case you need to take a nap during the day, it is important for you to wear your CPAP machine or device throughout the nap, no matter how short the nap is or will be.

This can make it easier for you to breathe properly throughout the nap while also achieving all the benefits of napping that you might not be able to gain otherwise.

However, if you do not yet have a CPAP machine, then it is best to avoid such naps. Further, even with a CPAP machine, it is possible that you might not yet be used to it if you have just started using one.

In this case, as well, you should avoid taking a nap during the day to maintain the sleep debt. This can help you feel more tired throughout the day so that you can easily fall asleep at night. This will then make it much easier for you to adjust properly to your CPAP machine.

Do You Feel More Tired with CPAP?

If you find that you feel more tired with CPAP, this might be because of one or more of the following reasons.

  • You might not yet be used to the CPAP device if it is new. It might cause discomfort, its size might be too small or too big, it might be causing scratches or it could lead to leaks and ulcers.
    In this case, you might feel more tired with CPAP and should make adjustments or buy a new machine after consulting your doctor.
  • This could also occur because you might not be using your CPAP machine for a sufficient duration at night. Since your sleep occurs in stages, you must keep the machine on throughout the night so that it can support your breathing, especially when the tissues or muscles relax too much.
  • If you have other sleep disorders such as insomnia, then it is possible that the CPAP machine might not help you fall asleep at night. Your apnea could also take on a more severe or complex form that could require additional support. You might also need to change the settings of your device.
  • If your apnea is not that severe, then using a CPAP device might not make too much of a difference.
  • If you have already taken a nap, you might not be tired or sleepy enough for your CPAP device to support your sleep at night.

Reserving Energy

If you have sleep apnea and ideally should not or cannot take naps during the day, or if you are still getting used to your CPAP machine, then how can you manage to reserve some energy?

What are some alternatives to naps for people with sleep apnea? Let’s take a look at some ways you can reserve energy.

  • Allow yourself to get used to the CPAP machine so that you can start getting better sleep at night. This can then make it slightly easier for you to start taking short naps as well.
  • In case your sleep apnea is not too severe, you can also use other devices such as a dental device that can regulate your breathing better.
  • You can make changes to your lifestyle to have more energy in your system. This can include dealing with substance abuse (if any), eating healthier food, drinking enough water, exercising regularly and trying to reduce some weight (if that is a major cause of your sleep apnea).
  • Sleeping sideways can allow you to sleep better with sleep apnea.
  • In case you have insomnia, you can start seeking treatment for that as well.

Concluding Remarks

You now have all the relevant information about whether or not naps are good for people with sleep apnea. Overall, you should avoid them if you have sleep apnea, especially if you do not have a CPAP machine or are not yet used to it.

As far as possible, you should tire yourself out during the day so that you can sleep better at night with fewer interruptions.


Dan was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2017 when he was only 32 years old. He has been using a BIPAP machine for his treatment. He hopes to provide a patient's perspective on the sleep apnea experience. Dan lives in Tampa with his girlfriend and 2 dogs.

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