Can Meditation Replace A Nap? (Which Is Better?)

Both napping and meditation are often put side to side to compare which one is better. While a good quality of sleep can remove the need for taking naps, some still find it beneficial to take naps. 

What I’ll present in this article about napping and meditation and how it affects people will vary from person to person, but because a significant portion of meditators has had the same experience as me, I’ll give a perspective that has been representative of a majority of those who meditate. 

Can the practice replace the need for naps? For most, meditation does a better job than napping considering that during meditation, we retain our consciousness and a short session of meditation can equate to power napping. 

Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

One isn’t objectively or necessarily better than the other, but I have found that naps give me the opposite effect of what it intends. Many who nap do so to supplement their sleep. 

But napping on its own can make it harder to sleep, which in turn, creates a cycle. That’s not to say that napping serves no purpose for many, in some cases, napping can be better for the short term than meditation. 

Napping vs. Meditation On The Short Term

When we compare meditating for the short term and taking naps for the short term, with meditation, it’s hard to get it right the first time. 

There sometimes are subconscious blockages or the mind trying to distract us from meditating, because we’re depriving it of deliberate thought, even if it’s for our good. 

Thus, meditating properly on the first try is difficult.  

The self-doubt we are dealing with, which is a critical component of how we approach things in life, is something that’s diminished over time the longer we meditate. 

But it can be discouraging to not see anything changing at the beginning because we have to learn how to meditate when we first start. 

It’s new for the mind and it’s new for the mind, therefore, it requires a paradigm shift of 180 degrees. 

On the other hand, with napping, the mind already knows how it feels and it’s less likely for the mind to respond with resistance. 

With napping, you may feel like you are accomplishing something by getting rest – and you are. 

With meditation, if you’re constantly overthinking your practicing, you’re barely learning the ropes. 

However, the good thing about napping, even as a beginner, is that you can reap the rewards pretty much instantly. 

Both meditation and napping share a common characteristic, and that is making you more productive and focused. 

I like to see napping as giving the mind a mini-break for those it works for, whereas meditation is entering into deeper levels of the mind, where you’re presented with imagery that at times can be dark, but is the price for our growth. 

One thing you do have to be careful with napping is not to overdo it, even as a beginner. 

Because napping pretty much feels good all the way, if you set the goal of napping for 20-30 minutes, (also known as a power nap) and you end up sleeping longer than that, it could almost be as if your body just took a mini sleep to complete the sleep it didn’t get earlier. 

You then end up without necessarily having the result that you anticipated, be it a boost in energy, more productivity, or focus throughout the day. 

Oversleeping on the nap means you give in to your mind’s desire in pursuit of pleasure and you’d be working against your discipline. 

With meditation, however, it’s the opposite, the longer you meditate the more you amplify the benefits of meditation and the more at peace you feel. What’s more, your awareness is with you all the time. 

Not only that, you’re able to develop your discipline because there are some hardships with meditation that often present themselves in the psychological sense as a way to test our journey and commitment to such a life-changing practice. 

Length of Meditation vs. Nap

For a power nap to fulfill its purpose, most shoot for 20 to 30 minutes. The same can be done with meditation, but meditation takes more commitment and mental resistance, so in that sense, it can make those who start with it see it as a challenge worth pursuing, or a waste of time. 

We’re naturally wired to want things immediately, but the more we break free from this conditioning, the more we expand our possibilities to experience things that we thought were beyond us. 

Meditation opens up a new door where the long-term benefit is improved sleep, memory, focus, productivity, and so on. WIth power naps, the benefits are often observed in the short term, assuming a power napper doesn’t practice it as a one-time thing. 

With naps, however, the will of the mind gets an environment to thrive, for instance, by sleeping longer because it feels good, even if that can affect our sleep later on. With meditation, however, your genuine will (not just what makes you feel good) is placed in an environment where you can thrive. 

In layman’s terms, discipline is sacrificing what you want at the moment for what you want the most, is what you want the most, the bigger picture and greater purpose. 

This is the common thinking seen in self-made successful individuals, whereas power naps don’t teach you discipline, but can indeed boost your productivity which in turn can aid your goals. 

The equivalent time meditating you would spend power napping is likely to give you the same benefits. Most beginners start with 20-30 and increase their time from there, as they make the mind acquainted with meditation. 

Meditation and Napping Don’t Have To Be Mutually Exclusive

You don’t need to renounce napping if you enjoy it and if you work well with it and meditation. 

At the end of the day, both are likely to improve the same areas in many aspects, but when you integrate meditation into your daily life, napping becomes more of a pleasure thing than something you do because you need to do it. 

While meditation can’t replace the need to sleep, it can make you require less sleep. However, if we compare meditation and napping as a whole, many individuals report feeling groggier as a result of napping, but the same can’t be said about meditation, even if some may feel groggier.

The beauty of meditation is, however, that you can choose many meditations to find one that suits you. With napping, you can adjust the timing to find the time that works best for you. 

Napping is significantly easier than meditation, but as a result, you may not get to experience everything you would experience with meditation should you just rely on napping. 

If, on the other hand, you’ve been napping because you’ve needed to up until this point, but want to eliminate the need to take naps, meditation could be optimal for you. 

You’ll need to have the patience to stick with it and at the end of the day, everything will fall in place and you can end up reaping the same rewards from napping without its negative consequences just by meditating. For most, however, the same can’t be said about the other way around. 

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