The National Sleep Foundation has recently revised its recommendations on appropriate amounts of sleep.  The recommendations are based on the input of scientists from over ten national professional medical organizations as well as the medical literature.  The current recommendations are more informative and give recommendations about what most people need by age as well as indicating that some people need more or less than the “average” person in any given age group and give parameters for these people as well.  For example, the current recommendation for an adult age 24 to 64 is 7 to 9 hours per night.  The guidelines also state that 6 hours and 10 hours may also be appropriate but maintain that more than 10 and less than 6 are not recommended.  For more information on the recommendations see http://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times.

So where do naps fall in all of this.  A recently published study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism                                                                                                                              (http://www.empr.com/30-minute-nap-could-undo-hormonal-effects-of-poor-sleep/article/397466/?DCMP=EMC MPR_DailyDose_cp&CPN=xelj_2014,flecmpr&hmSubId=&hmEmail=bqADr-74zK-0tgYhJhrNJT5ZFV0yXa- J_zU8JwhnhoiCDDCPsRzeNA2&dl=0&spMailingID =10811226&spUserID=MTEzNzE3NTEwMDA3S0&spJobID=500355517&spReportId=NTAwMzU1NTE3S) demonstrated that a short nap of 30 minutes duration could reverse the immune system and neuroendocrine system effects in sleep deprived healthy subjects. The authors are hopeful that naps can be effective way to combat chronic sleep deprivation, such as in people who work nights or work shifts. Another study in The Archives of Disease in Childhood (http://adc.bmj.com/content/early/2015/01/29/archdischild-2014-307241.short) explored the utility of naps in children.  It concluded that after the age of two, naps may actually lead to poorer sleep quality at night.

Optimal Sleeping positions for an individual are either on the back or on the side.  Back is most optimal, but many struggle with sleep in this position.  Side lying is the next best option and it is recommended to have a pillow between your legs so that your pelvis stays as even as possible.  Chiropractors and doctors advise against never sleeping on your stomach.  It puts great stress on your low back and you’re forced to turn your neck one way or another.