Day sleep – Sleeping in the day: Rules, Benefits, Contra Indications

Day sleep is one of the 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 not have day sleep,  how it affects life and health etc. Let us find out the full Ayurvedic explanation.  day sleep nap 1

Who can do day sleeping? sleep during 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 continuously read – Sleep is related with memory. A proper sleep is very essential to have a good memory power. To digest all the read things, it is better to give brain 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 to 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 having underweight problem and  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 sleep 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, diarrhea, abdominal pain, respiratory diseases, hiccups and who are excessively tired.
  • who have traveled 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 the 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 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, diarrhea, colic pain, dysponea (as in Asthma), hiccup, 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 everyone can have day sleep?

  • 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.

Who should never have day sleep?

  • 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 refers 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.

If a wrong person sleeps during daytime, what happens?
Swelling / edema, 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, weak sense organs,
Hence, based on suitability and timing, one should have day sleep.

As per Kaiyyadeva Nighantu
The advantages and disadvantages of sound and disturbed sleep :-
The 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  at odd hours [excessive sex] 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 the day time sleep on the contrary increases the oilyness 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 over 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 thgus 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 over 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.

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

The wisest of all would judge the type of sleep to be adviced 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 tranquillesed mind, help beget physical strength and body hue along with the status quo maintainace of the virility.

It is a general observation that a 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.

The 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].

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  1. 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?


    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      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.

  2. 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

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      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.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      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.

  3. meenakshi says:

    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 .

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      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.

  4. 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

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      For personal health advice, please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.
      If you want my help in finding a good Ayurveda doctor for you, then let me know your place.

      For email advice (not a reliable option, we do not promise any cure), please write to our health expert Dr Raghuram BAMS MD (Ayu), here (paid service) –

  5. ray kay says:

    Sir I work at night from 9pm to 5am. So I can only sleep in the morning. So if I follow a regular routine ie, fixed time schedule, can I be able to affectively recreate all the body activities (ie, hormonal, physical and mental health)

    I am a student so my brain health is also important. Currently I sleep now from 5:30 to 11am.

    Plse reply.

  6. rajesh jat says:

    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.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, if you get good 7-8 hours of sleep at night, better to avoid day sleeping.

  7. Kristina says:

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

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      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.

  8. Y venkat says:

    I have viral fever so can I sleep in afternoon to evening

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