Day Sleep – Sleeping In The Day: Rules, Benefits, Contra Indications

day sleep nap 1

By – Dr JV Hebbar
Day sleep is one of the most debated topics. There are many opinions about sleeping in the day. One of the basic treatises of Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita written about 2500 years before, has complete details about sleeping during day, who can sleep during the day, who should avoid day sleep, how it affects life and health etc. Let us find out the full Ayurvedic explanation.

Indications for day sleep

Who can sleep during the day time?

  • Singers – Singing involves a lot of Vata activity and causes overall vata increase, which may lead to hoarseness of voice and leaves you tired. To balance Vata, day sleeping is advised for singers.
  • Students – who read continuously – Sleep is related with memory. A proper sleep is very essential to have good memory power. To digest all the read things, it is better to give the brain a rest so as to give time to assimilate. Students may not sleep for hours during day, but a little afternoon nap works wonders for them.
  • After having alcohol – It is better for alcoholics to sleep during daytime rather than drive a car and bang it against something.
  • Heavy work – Those who work heavily will have temporary increase of Vata and suffer tiredness. To compensate, they should have day sleep.
  • People having indigestion – This refers to indigestion arising due to Vata imbalance.
  • People having injuries –To balance Vata.
  • People who are underweight and has an undernourished body – Our daily calorie intake through food should balance the calorie needs of the body for the normal daily activities. So, if people seeking weight gain sleeps during daytime, it helps to save that much amount of calorie spending, which helps to weight gain.
  • Elders and children – They obviously need rest to keep up their energy levels.
  • Patients – Especially with less strength, suffering from excessive thirst, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, respiratory diseases, hiccups and who are excessively tired.
  • Who have travelled long distances – Travelling causes Vata imbalance and tiredness, hence sleep is advised.
  • People with excessive anger – Sleep helps rest the brain and cool the temper. So, after sleep, it helps to person to take another look about the issue at hand with improved patience.
  • People with grief – For them, sleeping during daytime helps to forget the pain and decreases depression.
  • People who have undergone Panchakarma therapy  – During Panchakarma treatment, patients are not supposed to indulge in day-sleep. But once after it is over, usually body strength will be very less. Hence, they can have day sleep.
  • Patients suffering from indigestion, injuries, muscle wasting, thirst, diarrhoea, colic pain, dyspnoea (as in Asthma), hiccups, leanness, insanity, can have afternoon nap.  

All these people above are advised to sleep during day time in all seasons. In these people, sleep helps to restore all the healthy tissues, energy, and Kapha will be balanced and body gains strength.

When is day sleep advised for everyone?

  • For all healthy people, day sleep is advised during summer, due to less night-time and due to lack of energy during summer.
  • Except during summer, it is not advised for other people to have day sleep, as it may cause kapha and Pitta imbalance.

Contraindications for day sleep

Who should never sleep during the day?

  • Those who are suffering from obesity
  • Who are taking ghee or oil daily
  • Those suffering from Kapha diseases, who have Kapha body type,
  • Who are suffering from toxicity should never sleep during day.
    During spring, day sleep is especially contra indicated. This is because, during spring, naturally, there is Kapha increase. Day sleeping will further increase Kapha, leading to indigestion and related stomach complaints.

Kapha diseases refer to diabetes, obesity etc. In these people, the calorie burnt with daily activity should exceed the calorie of food taken, that way, it helps to reduce weight or maintain blood glucose levels.

Ill effects of day sleep

If a wrong person sleeps during daytime, what happens?
Swelling / oedema, tastelessness, vomiting sensation, aggravation of cold, migraines, skin diseases, itching, lassitude, cough, throat diseases, lack of good memory and intelligence, fever, weakness in sense organs, throat congestion, increase in toxicity, occurs. If a person has these conditions, then it would worsen, if he / she indulges in sleeping during daytime.
The person would have impaired memory and intelligence, obstruction to body channels and weak sense organs.
Hence, based on suitability and timing, one should have day sleep.

Ayurvedic reference

As per Kaiyyadeva Nighantu
The advantages and disadvantages of sound and disturbed sleep :-
Sound sleep versus disturbed sleep becomes the cause for nourishment or  emaciation; virility or  impotence;  knowledge or ignorance; longevity or reduced life span respectively.

One should avoid atiprasanga [excessive sex] at odd hours of the sleeping time which if done is unconducive to the health.

Where as having sex at the late hours of the midnight [kAlarAtri iva aparA] followed by sleep [nidrA niShevitA] is good for health and longevity [sukhAyuShI].

Waking at night time increases the dryness within the channels of the body, where as, day time sleep  increases the oiliness inside the channels of the body.
At the same time continuous exposure to sitting posture [AsIna] and strolling [pra calita] causes moistness [arUkSha] and dryness [anabhiShyanda] inside the channels of the body.

As a rule of exception, day time sleep is beneficial during the season of summer. The reason being, in summer which is a segment of AdAna kAla [exhaustion producing period] , the  vAta sanchaya [accumulation of vAta] occurs due to the dryness caused as a result of lesser duration of night time. The divAsvapna [day time napping] is beneficial in grIShma season simply because of the fact that it increases the kapha and pitta doShAs, which are antagonistic to the seasonally accumulated vAta doSha. And thus it helps in maintaining the homogeneity of the doshic balance in one’s body.

In case, due to unavoidable circumstances one need to be in vigil or wake up over the period of entirety of the night time, one should compensate at least half the amount of time of the lost hours of the sleep of previous night and, conditionally, that should be carried out in empty stomach, by not partaking any food  before indulging in the compensatory sleep over the morning.
The vigilance in night affects and reduces the kapha doSha and medas [fat tissues], body pain and poisonous toxins  due to the dryness it produces.

Day sleep on the contrary increases pitta and kapha doShAs in general over all seasons. Those  being the reasons, both night vigilance and day sleep are advised to be avoided in general.

The wisest of all would judge the type of sleep to be advised with specific relevance to the day or night times, by observing the parameters of the doshic balance or imbalance and help the patient have a proper format of sleeping mode. Doing so, they would help the person maintain a disease free state, remain in tranquillised mind, help beget physical strength and body hue along with the status quo maintenance of the virility.

It is a general observation that neither a morbidly obese nor an emaciated person lives their life equally in full for a hundred years of period.  The henceforth rules of contraindications will help a vaidya to address the core issues of sleep amicably by following the general rules stated above.

Day sleep is contra indicated in persons who are over obese [bahu meda:] and presenting with sAma kapha  features.

Night time sleeping is contra indicated in persons who have consumed life endangering poisons and in persons suffering from [obstructive] throat diseases.

Indications for day sleep:
Day sleep is beneficial [bhaved ahani nidrayA] and indicated in the persons with the following health conditions or state of physique,-

haleemaka type of jaundice,
shiro jADya [coldness or dullness of head],
shiro staimitya [stiffness or rigidity of head],
gurugAtratA [heaviness of body and body parts],
jvara [pyrexia],
bhrama [giddiness],
atibhramsha [loss of body balance],
sroto rodha [obstruction in the channels of the body],
agni mandatA [reduced or diminished digestive functions],
shopha [inflammatory conditions],
arochaka [dyspepsia],
hrullAsa [nausea],
peenasa [coryza],
ardhAvabhedaka [hemicrania],
kaNDU [pruritis],
koTha piDakA [urticarial rashes],
kAsa [cough],
tandrA [stupourness],
gala AmayA [diseases of throat],
viShavega pravrutti:  [stages of toxicity of poison intake].

20 comments on “Day Sleep – Sleeping In The Day: Rules, Benefits, Contra Indications

  • Priya

    08/08/2013 - 4:23 pm

    A few doubts.

    You say that the following people can day sleep:
    1. People having indigestion – This refers to indigestion arising due to Vata imbalance
    – Isn’t it bad to sleep (lor atleast lie in a horizontal position after lunch in the afternoon for people suffering from indigestion. Would it not aggravate their indigestion problems?

    2. People having underweight problem and undernourished body

    Who should never have day sleep?
    3. Who are taking ghee or oil daily

    Regarding points 2 and 3 above, what if an underweight person is taking ghee or oil daily in order to increase or maintain weight?


    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      10/08/2013 - 9:55 am

      1. Indigestion due to Vata imbalance will have symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating and hard stools. For them, day sleep is indicated. As a general rule, day sleeping should be done 30-60 minutes before food. Not after food. So, it should not affected digestion strength.

      2. Very good question.
      If the lean person who is taking ghee / oil / fried foods daily, indulges in exercise / heavy work, then he can have sleep. If he doesn’t, then he shouldn’t.

      Reply to comment
  • arun

    01/10/2014 - 6:52 pm

    i like it but it should be more clear and complete .As when question was asked then it was said that we can sleep in day but before taking lunch…generally we feel sleepy after lunch. Then what should be done

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      06/10/2014 - 8:17 am

      If you include a bit of spices in foods, oy will boost digestion strength. If digestion is good then one will not feel sleepy after food.

      Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      17/10/2014 - 7:13 pm

      If you include a little bit of spices in your diet like ginger and black pepper, it helps in digestion of food, and you will not feel sleepy after lunch.

      Reply to comment
  • meenakshi

    05/04/2016 - 11:15 pm

    If we are feeling headache after day sleep of 60 minutes then what it shows to us ,then is it right or wrong to take day sleep .

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      08/04/2016 - 10:50 pm

      Hi, researchers from University of Tokyo have recently found out that nap for more than 40 minutes is not good. Hence, a day sleep of 60 minutes would increase Kapha, leading to lethargy, headache and heaviness in the short run and cardiac problem, obesity and cholesterol problems on the long run.

      Reply to comment
  • Kavya

    03/04/2017 - 1:14 pm

    I am having Good sleep during night time. I am a student and I feel sleepy while studying even with involvement. Can u suggest any remedy for this. I am always feeling sleepy while studying

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    04/05/2017 - 10:41 pm

    Please read here

    Reply to comment
  • rajesh jat

    07/09/2017 - 2:31 pm

    dear sir
    i consume ghee and milk more.and whenever i sleep during day time i feels reduced day time sleeping good for me or not.i get enough time to sleep in night.

    Reply to comment
  • Kristina

    08/09/2017 - 7:21 pm

    Nicely explained but I want to know something. What should be the time period of daytime sleep?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      11/09/2017 - 5:20 pm

      Silver / Rajata Bhasma is Natural coolant, useful in stress, anxiety, neuro muscular stimulant,memory enhancer. It is useful in Alcoholism, Fever, menorrhagia, bleeding disorders.
      Some amount of the above claims on silver Bhasma can be attributed to water stored in silver vessel.

      Reply to comment
  • Arpana

    02/02/2018 - 6:12 am

    I am very underweight due to grahani digestion issues. I have disturbed sleep at night as I wake up at around 2-3am and cannot go back to sleep. So I am only getting 4-5 hours of sleep at night. I do not have much energy. Is day sleep ok for me? When would be the best time e.g. before lunch?

    Reply to comment
  • shiv

    08/07/2019 - 6:15 pm

    rajiv dixit has told take 20 to 40 min immediate nap after lunch…and you are saying before lunch…very confusion please clarify it

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      09/07/2019 - 12:24 pm

      Hi, my reference is from an ancient Ayurvedic text book written on 5th century, called Ashtanga Sangraha. Sutrasthana section.

      Reply to comment
  • LeeYong Chai

    22/05/2020 - 4:44 am

    Hi Doctor, may I know what time that you would suggest for day nap?(for people who are necessary) like you said before lunch but could I know exactly what time? During the morning Kapha time or in the Pitta time?

    Reply to comment

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