The day of or the day after a gym session I'll often grab a nap on the couch after work around 8pm. I'll fall asleep for a couple of hours and wake up on my own. When I do wake up I feel like I'd been hit by a truck. I'm well rested, but not energized.

I can't go to bed for a few hours after that; for example yesterday I didn't go to bed until 2AM.

Am I lacking sleep, or not enough rest or lack of protein. I've recently started taking BCAA which has been helping me to recuperate a lot faster from those gym sessions.

Any idea why? I do take my multi-vitamins, Omega-3, protein shakes and BCAA.


  • Somewhat of an old wives tale, but I feel terrible after my nap if I sleep through the sunset. If its during the day I feel fine.
    – crasic
    Mar 17, 2011 at 5:27

3 Answers 3


A free e-book gave me an answer to this a while ago.

When we sleep, we go through various sleep cycles, starting from 1, the lightest, to 4, the strongest.

Sleep cycle graphics

While in stage 1, a person probably doesn't even know, he's asleep. Its the feeling that when we sit somewhere boring, and suddenly we sort of wake up - thats 1st stage.

The second stage is light sleep. A person can still be woken up quite easily, and while in this stage is quite prone to waking up because of quiet noises and little movements. In other words, one is still quite awake.

So, if we take a look at the graph and compare it to your information, we conceive, that when you wake up after those 2 hours, you are most probably in the second or third stage of sleep, which means, that your brain is still sleeping, and it will take you a while to get up properly.

My advice would be this: Shorten the nap to no more that 50 minutes. That way, you will probably reach only stage 2, but will have slept a while, and feel more energy.

  • Interesting. I will certainly have a closer look.
    – Salsero69
    Mar 17, 2011 at 13:33
  • @Salsero69 - have a look at polyphasic sleep. A lot of research has been done recently on the art of using a nap for refreshment and you'll find most of that research integrated into polyphasic sleep studies. Mar 17, 2011 at 15:47

When I get low blood sugar levels, I get drowsy. When I take a nap in that drowsy state, I don't wake up rested, instead I feel hung over and even more tired. What I usually do is eat a little fruit (an apple, a banana, or a handful of raisins/grapes) and then I don't get that drowsy state.

  • I remember I used to splurge after going to the gym years ago and never had this problem. I don't do that any more; so that could very well be the problem.
    – Salsero69
    Mar 17, 2011 at 13:30

Sleeping 20 mins will refresh your mind giving it a quick rest, in a sense tricking it into thinking you have had a good sleep. After you come too you will be alert and energised, but it is very important to get a good night sleep after doing this.. I do it almost every day after work and I can honestly train 50% harder than if I dont nap plus much healthier than pre work outs or any caffeine supplements. ..

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