Abstract The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between self-reported nocturnal sleep quality and napping patterns in elderly persons with insomnia and to compare the nocturnal sleep quality between napping and non-napping groups. Convenience sampling was used to recruit 60 community-dwelling elderly residents of Taichung City, Taiwan (age range 60–83 years, mean 67.1 years) who reported insomnia. All participants scored greater than 5 on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaire. Napping prevalence, frequency, and duration were assessed by participant interview. Self-reported sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbance, use of sleep medication, and daytime dysfunction were measured with the PSQI. Sixty-four percentage of participants (n = 38) reported napping. There were no age, gender, and ethnicity differences on napping patterns. Global sleep quality, sleep efficiency, and sleep disturbance were significantly associated with prevalence of napping (r = 0.24–0.26, p < 0.05). A significant correlation was also found between global sleep quality and nap duration (r = 0.31, p < 0.05). Elders in the napping group reported better global sleep quality (t = 2.2, p < 0.05) and sleep efficiency (t = 2.1, p < 0.05) than those in the non-napping group. The findings suggest that there is no need for health care providers to restrict elderly insomniacs’ daytime napping.