Is there a word for opposite of "a nap"? If a nap is a short sleep taken during the day what would you call a brief period of being wide awake during the night?

It was very common in olden days but it still happens. First, people would sleep a while; then get up for an hour or two and then go back to bed.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Janus Bahs Jacquet, tchrist, bib, Drew, user66974 Oct 5 '14 at 21:20

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    A nap is not something that has anything like a logical opposite, so no, of course there isn't. You might as well ask for a word that's the opposite of strawberry or shower curtain. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 5 '14 at 11:31
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    But asking for a word for a short period of awakeness during a fairly lengthy sleep makes sense. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 5 '14 at 12:22
  • The complement of the set of naps is the set of non-naps. Does that help? ;-) – Drew Oct 5 '14 at 17:09

In short, insomnia. There are other sleep terms of interest (Sleepnet.com) but insomnia is about inability or interruption/wakefulness of a sleep pattern. Or, simply Sleep Interruption.

There are more specific terms depending on cause and experience.

Part of the problem with assigning a legitimate opposite of nap is that, in general, naps are scheduled and intentionally initiated (conditions like narcolepsy and drug effects aside). Interruptions in REM sleep are generally not consciously directed wake-up.

Certain conditioning of sleep patterns may not be legitimate insomnia, but instead lead to a normal[ized] wake-cycle that embeds awake time between naps (See: Polyphasic Sleep).

I am not a doctor. This is not intended as medical advice.

  • I don't understand how insomnia is the "opposite" of nap. I know there's the concept of taking a "power nap" during the day, but I suspect many/most people can't easily do this (unsurprisingly, since it runs counter to the natural circadian rhythm). You'd hardly use the word insomnia in the context of being unable to nap at will like that. – FumbleFingers Oct 5 '14 at 17:27
  • On the contrary, inability to take a power nap would be by definition insomnia (inasmuch as the desire to sleep is supplanted by the inability to do so.) If a nap is a voluntary limited time of sleep during a cycle of waking hours, the opposite would be an involuntary [limited/unlimited] time of wakefulness during the sleeping cycle. – SrJoven Oct 5 '14 at 22:19
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    I'd give you an upvote for 'sleep interuption' but it's not insomnia! Insomnia is a persistent condition of not being able to sleep prolonged periods. – dwjohnston Oct 6 '14 at 1:48
  • @dwjohnston In a word, insomnia or sleeplessness. In two, sleep interruption. The real point of opposite of nap is whether the event was voluntary or involuntary. Let's say a nap is regularly scheduled. The opposite would likely be considered a persistent condition. But even given that, if the wake event is voluntary, it's probably not likely to be considered insomnia. It's just a wake event or period between sleep cycles. If the wake event is involuntary, it's a sleep interruption. Consistently, it's insomnia. – SrJoven Oct 6 '14 at 2:27

Segmented sleep, also known as divided sleep, bimodal sleep pattern, bifurcated sleep, biphasic sleep or interrupted sleep is one answer from wikipedia from a google search.

Another name I found was 'first & second sleep', joined by an hour or so of 'quiet awakefulness'

Many of our ancestors practiced this in one form or another.

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