As one of the more notable symptoms of depression, napping or sleeping for long periods of time can suck time out of the day. Naps during the day mean that the time to do other things is lost, and doing so can make you unable to sleep at night, which makes you tired the next day, and repeat. Some suggest tracking your sleep patterns in order to adjust it, but when depression factors in, it’s harder to track just when you want (or maybe don’t want) to take that inevitable nap.
The primary cause for depression naps stems from avoidance. While naps are supposed to be a refresher before going about the rest of the day (think siestas), people take depression naps to escape from the feelings and thoughts that depression causes. It’s a coping mechanism, something to do to not just pass time, but to let the brain shut up for a little.
These naps serve as an escape, but they are anything but beneficial. They can last from several, excruciatingly long minutes to almost the whole day, and with them come lethargy and a lack of desire to get up, therefore spending more time being sedentary. Sometimes, it feels like the problem can only get worse. Depression naps can also trigger anxiety, because now that some of the day is wasted, so has the opportunity to get things done. This also comes with a feeling of guilt, because the time where you could have been busy and accomplishing things was sacrificed for essentially doing nothing. Then there’s the fact that once you’ve taken a nap during the day, it’s significantly harder to fall asleep at night. A lack of a sleep pattern has its adverse effects as well, like on school performance, blood pressure, and appetite. Overall, depression naps can cause a snowball effect that often times enhance depressive symptoms.
While trying to avoid them is easier said than done, it’s important to not feel guilty when you find yourself falling asleep when you don’t want to. Sometimes it’s the only thing the body can bring itself to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only solution in an attempt to feel better.
Do you find yourself taking depression naps? What do you think can be done to avoid taking them?