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Do "20 Minute Naps" Help?


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#1 canadian

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 01:06 AM

My new diagnosed 12 year old son was told by his doctor that 20 minutes naps could help him manage his symptoms(in addition to meds). My son does not believe this would help him because he would not be able to wake up at the 20minute point.
Does anyone find the "20minute nap" helpful and how do you manage to limit the nap to 20 minutes?

#2 Stacy D

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 06:23 AM

I normally can't lay down for a nap without sleeping for several hours, but I've been experimenting with 20 minute naps this weekend at work and they seem to be helping me through my shift. I think the reason why I can limit it to 20 minutes is I just lay my head down on a desk with all the lights and the TV on so it's not really an ideal sleep situation. I think if I were to turn the lights out and lay down I would sleep a lot longer. I would never attempt this type of nap at home, where I'm comfortable, because I don't think I'd wake up.


#3 eww

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 01:38 PM

Ah yes. The perennial "20 Minute Nap" debate. Honestly, from what I've seen/read/experienced opinions on this one vary wildly. Personally I think it depends on the situation. Sometimes I require 4 hour naps whereas some days I can lay down for 5-10 minutes and feel better.

I know that at first I was sceptical about short naps too. I always used to nap for 1-2 hours but I found that once I tried taking more, shorter naps I became more functional while awake. I don't zone in and out as much and I've stopped "losing time" almost entirely. Perhaps my body got used to it and doesn't feel like it needs to steal sleep if it's going to get it in a few hours anyway?? Keep in mind this is my experience after diagnosis, meds and experiments to see what works or doesn't work for me as an individual... Your mileage may vary.


I find that with naps less than 1/2 hour the experience of the sleep is different. I rarely feel like I "go away". My mind is still fairly active, often coming up with lists of things to do. I don't really feel properly asleep even though technically I am. The downside to this is that by the time I'm freaking exhausted (you know when it gets to the "I need to sleep or I'm going to die" part) there is no way this "rest" is going to cut it. Actually, it will irritate me because I want to shut down, not be stuck in limbo. Plus hallucinations can leave me more exhausted than I was beforehand.

BUT the upside can be enormous. If I nap pre-emptively ie BEFORE I get to that want-to-die stage then it can be great! In fact there are times when it feels like I'm being MORE productive because while napping I often plan out lists of things I need to do or ponder over an essay I need to write etc. When that happens as soon as I "wake up" I can get right down to what it is I need to do. Also I try to look at dreams as entertainment. So I took a break from my regular life and watched a short film in my head to keep me up and focused. Attempting to stick to a nap/medication schedule helps with this.


It doesn't always work out that way of course but usually I nap for between 15-40 minutes. I do have to mention that on weekends or medication holidays all bets are off though.

#4 psocoptera

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 05:10 PM

If I try to nap in bed in a dark quiet room, I am gonna be there for 2-3 hours. At work, though, the 5-10 minute head on the desk helps a lot. I don't think I've tried napping before it becomes tears-down-the-face, blurred-vision necessary. Bleeding them off with deliberate naps makes a lot of sense...

#5 Stacy D

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 07:54 PM

I agree it makes sense for a short nap to begin to be effective (and short) it should come before it's necessary. Maybe scheduling them at 3 hour intervals or whatever it takes to get one in before passing out.

On another note, will your son's school work with him on this? I'm curious how difficult it must be for an adolescent to deal with this. It's pretty hard as an adult but at least I can tell people where to go if they give me a hard time about it and I can take time off from work if I need to.

#6 canadian

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 05:32 PM

I agree it makes sense for a short nap to begin to be effective (and short) it should come before it's necessary. Maybe scheduling them at 3 hour intervals or whatever it takes to get one in before passing out.

On another note, will your son's school work with him on this? I'm curious how difficult it must be for an adolescent to deal with this. It's pretty hard as an adult but at least I can tell people where to go if they give me a hard time about it and I can take time off from work if I need to.


I haven't meet with school yet since my son was just diagnosed this summer. I am unsure how it will work out or if the school has any experience with narcolepsy.

Are there any good watches to remind of multiple med dosing times and to help limit nap durations???

#7 malachi777

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 05:59 PM

I haven't meet with school yet since my son was just diagnosed this summer. I am unsure how it will work out or if the school has any experience with narcolepsy.

Are there any good watches to remind of multiple med dosing times and to help limit nap durations???


I have been able to take 5 minute naps at times and they usually worked. Now, My naps average 2 to 4 hours every day. I guess the five minute nap fools the brain into thinking you slept longer.

#8 psocoptera

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 06:21 PM

Honestly, I don't use a watch or timer. If I am slightly uncomfortable, I naturally wake up in 5-10 minutes. It feels like 30 minutes, but my screensaver goes off in 10 minutes and it usually isn't on when I wake up again. Refreshing is sort of a misnomer. I don't feel sleepy for a little while, but I am often fuzzy and unfocused.

#9 Stacy D

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 01:02 AM

My old Timex had 2 alarms. I'm not sure if they make watches with more than 2. I usually use my cell phone for alarms because I have a Palm Pre and I can set multiple alarms and reminders and schedule things way in advance on the calendar. I don't know if the school would allow him to have a cell phone, but a PDA like a Palm would probably be really helpful because you can schedule things to repeat and don't have to constantly worry about resetting the alarm. It's the reason why I got a Palm. It's the only thing holding my life together right now. Technology rocks!

Like Psocoptera said, if I don't make myself comfortable, I won't over-sleep. Your son may want to experiment at home first to see what works best. I used to nap in the nurse's office in High School. I wasn't diagnosed with N then, but I would tell them I had cramps and had to lie down. It also avoids the problems associated with napping in front of your peers, even if it's during study hall when nobody is doing anything anyway.

Side story - I used to sleep in class a lot too, no matter how much sleep I got at home. I thought it was a teenager thing and not abnormal. Anyway, my Physics teacher only had one eye and I managed to sit in his blind spot (he did not move around the room much). Almost got busted once when he actually called on me, but luckily I had people looking out for me who quickly woke me up and gave me the answer. I barely squeaked by that class.


#10 Henry G

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 06:00 PM

nah

doesn't help me in any way

i nap when i can't really help it
- but force-nap out of a regime makes zero difference : at least for me

#11 canadian

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 09:37 PM

nah

doesn't help me in any way

i nap when i can't really help it
- but force-nap out of a regime makes zero difference : at least for me

Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences! My son will start trying out the 20 minute nap right after school next week.We will see if it makes a difference and if he will wake up in 20 minutes or if he will sleep the evening away...

#12 eww

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 02:40 PM

I set my cellphone alarm if it's really necessary for me to be up within a certain time frame. More if it's dire. I usually wake up before my alarm but I didn't usually before I got into a rhythm. Also, I tell people to poke me if they're around. lol.

I try to arrange my schedule so I nap as the meds are winding down, then take another dose when I wake up. This usually gets me through the time it takes for the meds to work again. I'm on short acting dexedrine. It works out to napping about every 3 hours.

#13 Saraiah

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 07:57 AM

Are there any good watches to remind of multiple med dosing times and to help limit nap durations???


There are plenty of watches out there with 12 or more alarms; some allow you to enter different text that appears with each different alarm. Just Google "ADHD watch," and you'll find a list of options. I personally use a watch with a vibrating alarm; that way, I get a reminder, but the people around me aren't clued in that I just got yet another prompt to go do something.

#14 Katlynran

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 08:10 PM

Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences! My son will start trying out the 20 minute nap right after school next week.We will see if it makes a difference and if he will wake up in 20 minutes or if he will sleep the evening away...



Following up on the 20 minute nap. How has it worked out for your son? Did he sleep the evenings away?

I love 20 minute naps, I used to take one everyday at 2PM. Sometimes I would go up to the bedroom fall asleep, dream like crazy, then like magic, bing.... wake up 20 minutes later. I was done. Really weird - if only out there in the real world I could have a magic bed appear to take a 20 minute nap, I would be in heaven. :)

#15 hathor

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 01:07 PM

the 20 min nap thing doesnt work for me and never has. im in and out of sleep all day some times couple of mins sometimes hours. if i plan 20 min naps i just dont wake up out of them they make me more exhausted. at school i found it was better that the teachers knew and understood my condition then if i did fall asleep it was better for them to leave me to come out of it. i find if people keep trying to keep me awake it tires me even more so takes me longer to wake up.

#16 ejohnson22

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:44 AM

I definatly agree that it helps!! I am a college student and normally don't have time to take a nap, but when I get a 20 min nap into my schedule I feel so much better after that. It especially helps when I take it in the afternoon because then I won't get as tired after supper. What I do, to make sure it is not too long of a nap, I set an alarm and make sure that I take my nap around a time when I have something going on next that I absolutely have to get up for. Having committments before taking a nap makes it easier to get up. Hope this helps!

#17 Toph4er

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 11:16 PM

Question, to add to this for everyone. Please tell me if you regularly sleep more or less than 10 hours (naturally for you, not running the alarm clock) and if naps work for you or not.

For example myself:
-I sleep >10 hours (if able to)
-20 minute naps don't work too well for me.

*There is no right or wrong answer, I will follow up on this after we get some input going...Oh and if you can give your ideal range of sleep time, that would be great as well, but not necessary. I would ideally sleep 11-12 hours a day to feel rested.

Thanks!
Chris"Toph4er"

#18 hathor

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 02:11 AM

my sleep is all over the place. at night most of the time i need more than 12 hours but if i sleep and dont wake then come morning im exhausted the next day. i sleep on and off all day for about 15 hours a day every day on average. the 20 min nap makes it worse,it never last 20 mins alarm or nt i dont wake up.

#19 Saraiah

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 06:24 AM

Please tell me if you regularly sleep more or less than 10 hours (naturally for you, not running the alarm clock) and if naps work for you or not...Oh and if you can give your ideal range of sleep time, that would be great as well


If I am not awakened by an alarm clock, I sleep a minimum of 16 hours and a maximum of 36 hours at a stretch. I have not felt rested, regardless of the amount of sleep I've gotten in the recent past, for many years.

I usually allow myself to sleep for 9 hours at night before awakening with an alarm. I must take two 2-hour naps each day in order to be somewhat functional when I am awake. I've experimented with shorter naps, and have found that they leave me feeling worse than I feel if I don't nap at all.

Saraiah

#20 ejohnson22

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:35 PM

I sleep roughly 8-9 hours a night. When I do not get even a 20 min nap in I drag and fall asleep during my classes. Would I love to get more sleep duing the night? Absolutely, but this is the only way I can live a some what normaly life and have narcolepsy.