Difference Between Sleep and Nap

Resting is in the nature of human beings and animals or any living being. Resting is one of the most prominent things in the life of a loving being as resting provides a being more efficient and energy to work.

There are various forms of resting, thus, two forms of resting that take place frequently in the life of a human being are sleeping and napping.

Sleep vs Nap

The main difference between Sleep and Nap is that Sleep can be defined as a state of body and mind that is reoccurring naturally. On the other hand, a nap can be defined as a condition of sleeping that lasts for a short period of time.  

Sleep vs Nap

Sleep, in other words, is a natural process in which a human, animal, or any living being tends to rest with their eyes closed, generally leaving the beings unconscious in this state. It is an easily reversible periodic state of mind.

It can provide a state of relaxation to living beings.

As a nap is a short time sleep, thus is generally taken during the hours of daytime. Naps are taken in response to the tiredness of the working hours during the daytime.

Or can be defined as a rapid snooze that living beings tend to take. For having a great nap, you should always try to keep your surroundings peaceful.

Comparison Table Between Sleep and Nap

Parameters of ComparisonSleep
Required Hours
Hours needed for sleeping a day differ according to the age of human beings.

Generally, a nap should be short and last 25 to 40 minutes.
Cycle The cycle of sleeping typically occurs once a day.

The cycle of nap does not have any fixed cycle.
Inclusion of REM Sleep is typically is comprised of both REM and non-REM sleep.
Nap is only comprised of non-REM generally.
Responsive While sleeping, a human is entirely unresponsive to any kind of activity or sound.
While having a nap, a human can still react to the sounds and activities.
Necessity Sleep is a necessity for living beings. Nap is not a necessity for living beings. 

What is Sleep?

Sleep is different from wakefulness as in this state of mind and body the body is unable to react to the stimuli, however, it has more ability to reach than coma.

Sleep is connected to a condition in which the muscles of the human or living body are relaxed and decreased insight of external stimuli.

The dream is one of the most familiar features of sleep. Dream narrative experience of wakened life while continued, however, later it can also be referred to as a fantasy.

When a person is asleep, his body systems are under anabolic condition, providing help to the nervous system, immune system, muscular system, and skeletal system.

There are various sleep disorders as well, they can be named as followed dyssomnias, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and hypersomnia parasomnias such as sleepwalking and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder;

bruxism; and circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

Sleeping is an important part of the lives of human beings. However, it shall be done within the limit.

Different age groups have different hours of sleeping which are suggested by the experts. Low quality and poor sleep may lead to various bad health states such as obesity, mental illness, etc.

People who suffer from sleep problems often suffer mental illness.

What is Nap?

For many years now, experts and scientists have been trying to find out the advantages of napping. According to experts 50-80 minutes nap is considered to be much better than taking caffeine.

There are various types of naps, named as followed recovery nap, prophylactic nap, fulfillment nap, appetitive nap, and essential nap.

A nap can last as short as 30 minutes or even to long hours of sleeping such as one or two hours during the daytime.

However, the best nap length can be considered the one which gives you a refreshing and helps you to overcome the drowsiness over the day but it shall not be long that it gives you sleep inertia.

Naps are sometimes also referred to as power naps. A nap can either be helpful or harmful to you.

It depends on your age, timing hours, and the quality of the nap you get.

While a nap can be helpful to you, it can be dangerous at the same time as you might not feel that productive after taking a nap and you might also face problems in sleeping at night.

You shall take naps in the early afternoon i.e., before 3 p.m.

Main Differences Between Sleep and Nap

  1. While sleeping a human body is unconscious, thus is unable to react to external stimuli, however, while taking a nap a human might be able to react to external stimuli.
  2. Sleep is constituted with various stages of sleeping, while nap does not include any stage in it.
  3. Improper and poor sleep might lead to serious health and mental disorders while poor nap, generally does not lead to such illnesses and disorders.
  4. Sleep is considered to be much more refreshing than naps.
  5. While sleeping, both the mind and body of the living beings tend to rest, however, while napping it is not so.
Difference Between Sleep and Nap


People might confuse nap and sleep as the same. However, both of them share a huge difference.

Sleep is the state of the body where the body is not active at all, and humans can not react to external stimuli. Generally, a human sleep at night while on the other hand, a person tends to take naps in the daytime.

Sleep can be understood as a daily process in the lives of humans or animals; however, naps are not as frequent a process as sleep is. A human can live without taking naps but he or she can not live without sleeping.


  1. https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.02171.x
  2. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article-abstract/35/7/1003/2558836
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