BistroMD Health Library

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Think you know about metabolism? Chances are, your understanding varies greatly from reality. Throw aside the common excuses attached to metabolism and learn how to finally get your under control, once and for all.

How a 20-Minute Nap Will Affect Your Metabolism

Nappers, rejoice! That 20-minute nap you allot in your daily schedule has shown to contribute to a number of health gains (but not including weight)!


With naps oftentimes associated to laziness or commonly misperceived to slow down metabolism, individuals may wonder, “Does sleeping make you gain weight?” or “Does sleeping in the afternoon increase weight?”

But nappers, rejoice! That 20-minute nap you allot in your daily schedule has shown to contribute to a number of health gains (but not including weight)!

The Power of a 20-Minute Nap

Also known as a “power nap,” researchers and nap-takers tout those 20 minutes of rest as the holy grail of nap length. 

Why? Sleep experts suggest after 30 minutes, the body can fall into a deeper sleep, even risking feeling more tired than what you previously were. 

And while 20 minutes may seem like a meek window of shuteye, power naps have shown to…

…combat against fatigue.

…promote a greater physical and mental well-being.

…increase emotional functioning.

…improve mood and heighten concentration levels.

…develop adequate sleeping patterns at bedtime.

…strengthen interpersonal relationships.

…lessen the risk of weight gain (read on for more details)!

How A 20-Minute Nap Affects Metabolism and Weight

First off, taking a 20-minute nap will not directly affect metabolism, as metabolism is not drastically distressed in such a short segment of time (or even a good night’s sleep for that matter). 

But those short, but beneficial minutes of rest can halt weight gain by increasing energy, reducing the risk of cravings, redirecting midafternoon munchies, and combatting emotions.

Increasing Energy

Not only are workouts more likely to occur when rested, but tend to be more vigorous with increased energy. Along with exercise burning off calories, gaining strength through resistance training can increase metabolism. 

And not to mention, staying active and partaking in workouts further heightens energy levels and keeps the cycle awakened!

Reducing the Risk of Cravings

Being tired or sleep deprived can increase cravings, particularly to comfort foods rich in fat, sugar, and salt. 

Deterring such feelings can in turn lessen the risk of cravings, mostly by regulating and controlling the body’s hunger hormones (known as a leptin and ghrelin).

Redirecting Midafternoon Munchies

Though the desire of a midafternoon snack may be related to hormones and the desire for a pick-me-up, taking a 20-minute nap can distract against those munchies. 

Nutrition experts truly encourage individuals to recognize whether or not they are experiencing true hunger or cravings, further recommending a plan of action to divert boredom-based eating. Relaxing and taking a nap is a valuable way to sidetrack from food.

Combatting Emotions

Emotions can be heightened when tired, ultimately slowing down metabolism and dumping out harmful chemicals in times of stress. 

More specifically, increased release of cortisol can contribute to weight gain in the abdominal region and trigger cravings towards high-carbohydrate products, as such foods have shown to increase the brain chemical serotonin to induce a calming effect. 

So not only can taking a nap sidetrack from food, but combat emotions that may initiate a craving.

In addition to adequate sleep, nurture a healthy metabolism with a total lifestyle change. A well-balanced diet should incorporate whole grains, fresh produce, lean proteins, and healthy fats, along with the reduction of highly processed foods. 

And as mentioned above, exercise further plays a role in a health. Integrating strength and resistance training stimulates muscle growth; and the more lean muscle mass present, the more efficient the metabolism! 

In bistroMD’s Health Library, find diet solutions and health tips, along with all things fitness and exercise examples to keep you active!

Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on September 28, 2017. Updated on March 14, 2019.


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