Correlates and influences of taking an afternoon nap on nocturnal sleep in Chinese elderly: A qualitative study

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Taking afternoon naps is common among elderly people, but the information about napping from qualitative viewpoints is limited. This study aimed to describe napping experience from the perspectives of Chinese elderly, specifically on nap taking correlates and its influences on nocturnal sleep. Data were gathered via individual in-depth interviews with 50 Chinese elderly in Taiwan. The majority of the nappers napped for 1–2 hours between 12 PM and 1 PM. Nap promoting factors included “belief in afternoon nap taking benefits,” “nothing to do,” “low energy level,” “compensation -for disturbed sleep” and “extreme weather.” Nap taking (>1 hr.) was found to be associated with delay of the onset of sleep, reduction of sleep duration, and light sleep. Short afternoon napping (<1 hour) is recommended for the elderly. Future research should determine the direction of the causative association between afternoon nap-taking and nocturnal sleep.

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