Staying Healthy

Are you napping too much?

Daytime sleepiness could be a sign of an underlying health problem, and it comes with risks.

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

photo of a man napping outdoors, with a book on his chest and a straw hat pulled down over his face

A quick catnap can be refreshing and provide just the right reset to keep up your energy and concentration. But what about a lot of little catnaps — or even a great big snooze after every meal? Too much daytime sleeping can indicate a serious health problem.

How much is too much?

The optimal amount of sleep we need each night is seven to nine hours. Getting more or less than that is linked to cognitive decline, obesity, heart disease, and premature death. A direct cause hasn’t been established conclusively, but there’s growing evidence to suggest that possibility.

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About the Author

photo of Heidi Godman

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

Heidi Godman is the executive editor of the Harvard Health Letter. Before coming to the Health Letter, she was an award-winning television news anchor and medical reporter for 25 years. Heidi was named a journalism fellow … See Full Bio
View all posts by Heidi Godman

About the Reviewer

photo of Anthony L. Komaroff, MD

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter

Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff is the Steven P. Simcox/Patrick A. Clifford/James H. Higby Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and editor in chief of the Harvard … See Full Bio
View all posts by Anthony L. Komaroff, MD

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As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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