In Questions and Answers I try (as a true ExpEx, Expert-by-Experience) to answer some of your questions, as brief as possible.
Question that was asked this morning:
“Will afternoon naps worsen depression?”
Answer: No, not necessarily. Exhaustion caused by a horrible, nightmarish, sleepless night can have a far worse effect on depression. So in that case, getting over your tiredness by taking a brief daytime nap can be a good strategy.
But afternoon naps can worsen your depression if you disregard two important, fairly self-evident conditions:
(1) Don’t let them disrupt your day in a way that makes you feel you lost control. In other words, after a bad night, strategically planning in an afternoon nap is much better than allowing yourself to just drift away into sleep on your TV couch. Use your bed, so the nap will be a well-defined and well-demarcated “activity” within your day scheme.
(2) Don’t sleep for too long. Set an alarm! For nearly all people, somewhere between 30-50 minutes works best for a refreshing daytime nap. Sleep much longer and you may (a) be less alert and less active for the rest of the afternoon, and (b) have more trouble to get some good sleep the following night: meaning the problem will keep repeating itself.
We’re all different of course, but stick to these two basic rules and sometimes an afternoon nap can work well – at least for myself and for most other depressed people that I happen to know.