You likely already know that getting plenty of sleep at night is in your best interest, but you might not have ever given much thought to the effects that sleeping during the day can have on you, particularly if you don't typically need to spend much time sleeping during the day. Sleep is exceedingly important for your short and long-term physical and mental health and wellbeing, so if you do sleep during the day (either to nap or because you're up at night), you need to know about the surprising effects sleeping during the day has on your health long-term.
People who work at night, of course, need to sleep during the day. For those who don't work at night, you still might find yourself occasionally napping during daylight hours, but you're probably better off still getting your normal recommended amount of sleep at night to minimize potentially-negative effects. "We are naturally programmed to sleep at night — light is a major trigger that sends the chemical signals to wake — so daytime sleeping is really hard and it is difficult to get the full seven and a half hours of good, restful sleep," Dr. Anthony Warren, PhD, a sleep expert and CEO of BreatheSimple, tells Romper by email. If you have to sleep during the day for any reason (maybe you were up all night with the baby, for instance), if you can time it right, you might also be slightly better off.
"As far as the timing of the day for the nap, if you are on a normal sleep pattern, our bodies tend to have a natural drop in temperature between 2pm and 4 pm each day," Bill Fish, certified sleep science coach and co-founder of Tuck, tells Romper in an email exchange. "When this takes place, the body begins to produce melatonin, which can cause drowsiness. If you do try to nap, keep it in that window, always avoid napping less than three hours before you go to bed for the night otherwise you have the potential of experiencing prolonged sleep latency."
Sleeping during the day and working at night regularly can really take a toll on your health and your general wellbeing. "The fact is that our natural circadian rhythm requires that we sleep at night when the sun is down," Chris Brantner, a certified sleep science coach and founder of SleepZoo.com, tells Romper in an email exchange. "You simply can't effectively reprogram yourself to be nocturnal. Not only that, our entire world is built around a nighttime sleep cycle. So even if it was good for you to sleep all day, the world around us makes it difficult."
If you're sleeping during the day regularly, these effects are things about which you should definitely be aware.