Napping Risks for Insomniacs & Older Adults, Huberman Warns

The Risks of Napping for Insomniacs and Older Adults

Walker explains that napping can be problematic for individuals suffering from insomnia, as it can interfere with their nighttime sleep. However, he cautions against making broad recommendations for older adults to avoid napping altogether.

While some studies suggest that napping in older adults is associated with worse health outcomes and a higher likelihood of early mortality, Walker believes that these negative effects may be more directly related to the poor quality of sleep older adults experience at night. As people age, their sleep quality deteriorates, particularly in terms of deep non REM sleep, which can decline dramatically by the time they reach their 50s and beyond.

This compromised sleep quality may lead older adults to compensate by napping during the day. Therefore, daytime napping in older adults might be a proxy for the poor sleep they experience at night, rather than a direct cause of health problems and shorter lifespans. Walker emphasizes the need for more evidence before making definitive recommendations about napping in older adults.

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