Q: If you nap a little in front of the TV in the evening, does that count toward your daily sleep total?
Oz Says: Not if you're tallying up quality sleep. Even if Nightline gives you some zzzs, they're not going to be the type that helps you feel rested. A good night's shut-eye is made up of two main stages, explains Raj R. Dasgupta, M.D., of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
"The lighter one, where we spend the majority of our time, is called non-REM (rapid eye movement), while REM is deeper and more restorative." You have to cycle through non-REM sleep to reach that elusive REM, and when you doze off for 20 minutes, you probably won't get there (it takes an average of 90 minutes). In other words, you can't short the rest of your sleep time just because you napped. If crashing in front of the TV becomes a habit, DVR the show and get to bed earlier.
And in case you were wondering: Midday naps don't count toward sleep totals, either, but can refresh you if you keep them to around 20 minutes.
This story originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.