How can a nap in the afternoon interfere so much with my night sleep?

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I usually go to bed at 10pm. Yesterday, I was very tired and took a nap at around 2.30pm for maybe half an hour, and last night I couldn’t fully fall asleep until around 2am.

How can a half hour nap alter my strict sleep schedule by 3-4 hours?

In: Biology

If it’s a strict sleep schedule, you wouldn’t have taken a nap.

You just mixed up your sleep schedule a little. If you have trouble sleeping, try some genuine relaxation techniques.

There are two main signaling pathways that act in tandem to produce sleepiness. One is melatonin, which is triggered by the day-night cycle, rising after the sun sets and peaking in your bloodstream around the time you usually go to sleep. The other is adenosine, which isn’t circadian at all but slowly rises over the time you’re awake and clears out over the hours you’re asleep. Adenosine makes you more sleepy the longer you’ve been awake, and melatonin makes you sleepy after dusk. Your afternoon nap probably cleared out enough adenosine to reduce its effect on your sleepiness at night, making it harder to fall asleep.

Limiting naps to the early afternoon at the latest, as well as keeping naps short (15-30 min) can help keep the nap from disturbing your night sleep. As can avoiding caffeine after the early afternoon since caffeine works primarily by blocking adenosine.

Personally i nap between 17:00 and 18:00 and no problems, am fit for the evening, go to bed 12:00/01:00 it depends in the person