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Napping is good for you, isn’t it? Recent research suggests that napping during the day can help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. There is nothing better than getting into bed, covering yourself with blankets, taking a nap, and letting go of everything from the best to the worst in the real world. 


However, the line between healthy relaxation and an indication of a sleep issue might sometimes be relatively narrow. More seriously, many people with depression use naps to escape reality and deny their symptoms of illness. A depression nap is considered a short-term solution but not a recommendation. Let Depression Open Talks investigate what is meant by the phrase “depression nap“: what it is, what its effects and harms are, and what to do if it becomes more serious.

What is a depression nap?

Depression and sleep problems can go hand-in-hand in a two-way relationship. Napping for a long time is often diagnosed as depression. Several studies have shown that between 65 and 90% of adult patients suffer from depression and admit to experiencing some sleep disturbances, most of which are excessive daytime sleepiness and prolonged naps.

Depression and sleep problems can go hand-in-hand

The concept of “depression naps” originated on social media and is widely discussed among teenagers and young adults. On Twitter, you can find gifs of bedtime that allow you to escape the world when you’re tired, stressed, worried, or sad—called a “depression nap.”

Urban Dictionary noted that a “depression nap” is a nap for depressed people who can’t cope with emotional pain. When they sleep, they don’t have to think about anything, and the pain is numbed. Yet, people spread the phrase “depression naps” without the actual meaning of depression. As a result, the severity of this mental illness is often underestimated.

What causes a depression nap?

The desire to take a nap can stem from utter exhaustion and underlying mental health issues. So depression is often associated with insomnia. The exact relationship between sleep and depression is considered complex and multidimensional.

A 2020 review reported that sleep is regulated by several mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of depression. That means living with depression naturally leads to sleep disturbances, and sleep disturbances can lead to depression as a result.

While it’s unclear which comes first, sleep disorders or depression, research exists on both sides of the debate. Depression causes you to experience insomnia or difficulty sleeping at night. Not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep makes the body tired and excessively sleepy during the day. At the same time, the thoughts, worries, and fears caused by depression also keep you constantly looking for ways to escape reality. The solution of choice for forgetting the physical and emotional pain without drugs is a depression nap.

Depression causes insomnia at night

When should you seek professional help?

Although it is a temporary solution for depressed and stressed people, depression naps also have potential harm and undesirable consequences. According to a 2014 survey, naps that become frequent and prolonged are associated with an increased risk of psychosis as well as an increased likelihood of having a higher body mass index (BMI).

If you can’t control your sleepiness and have a constant thirst for sleep, consider contacting a mental health or health care professional. You should also seek immediate medical attention when you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • constant sadness for days, more than two weeks
  • not being able to fall asleep for many days in a row.
  • unable to concentrate or remember things clearly
  • waking up suddenly in the night gasping or having trouble breathing
  • persistent headache
  • feeling anxious or irritable
  • feeling unusually sleepy during the day.

How do you cope with depression nap-related problems? 

Because sleep disorders and depression are closely related and interact, we can address this problem in two ways. If you have depression and are having sleep-related issues, it is advisable to seek depression therapy. If you have a sleep condition and are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is more beneficial to treat the sleep disorder to alleviate the depression. Changing the way of life is also a suggestion. 

Eat healthily and exercise

Consume lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other nutritious meals to preserve your health. Besides, combine creating a habit of being physically active with exercising or going to the gym.

Schedule your sleep and waking hours

A consistent bedtime and wake-up regimen might help alleviate some symptoms of depression and sleep difficulties. It’s advisable to get 7-8 hours of night sleep per day. Having a high-quality night sleep also helps you avoid dark circles of eyes.

Avoid digital devices

Stop using electronics for at least two hours before bed. Blue light and stimulants from your phone, tablet or television can disturb your circadian cycle and make falling asleep more difficult.

Limit social media

Spend less time online and on social media. Too much information from social media may overwhelm you, and studies have found a correlation between social media use and low self-esteem. Therefore, use it sparingly, especially before going to bed.


While naps can make us more alert and energized, these types of naps can be an unhealthy way to deal with your emotions, becoming a kind of muscle defense mechanism. According to Farell, naps last longer and start to make you feel more exhausted, or miss important events in work or life, then perhaps we need to view it as a negative.


Benton, E. (2021, April 28). What Are Depression Naps? Verywell Mind. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-depression-naps-5094065

Klein, S. (2017, October 6). What Is a Depression Nap and Can it Boost Your Mood? Health. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.health.com/condition/depression/depression-nap

Legg, T. J. (n.d.). Depression and Sleep: Connection, Research, and Treatments. Healthline. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/depression-and-sleep#takeaway

Wilson, D. R., Gillette, H., & Villalobos, N. (2022, February 11). Are Depression Naps a Thing? I Psych Central. Psych Central. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/depression/depression-nap#tips

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