Learn Something New Every Day!

Topic N: Time for a NAP

Okay.  Let’s act like this is a round of Jeopardy.

Here’s the answer:

*  You’ve had a good day.

*  You’ve had a bad day.

*  You’re home early.

*  It is cold and dreary out.

*  It is sunny out—and you have a hammock.

*  You just ate.

*  You won’t eat for a couple hours.

*  You just finished a big task.

*  You have a big task on your to-do list.

*  Just because.

*  Why not?

THE QUESTION:  What are perfectly good reasons for taking a nap?

Like you need a reason for a nap!

Grandpa  BabysittingAs adults, we recognize that babies nap almost all the time.  And we insist on naps for the kids as they grow up.  Daycares and kindergartens typically have a nap time scheduled right after lunch.  But somewhere along the way, naps stop.  Teens avoid them, unless you count sleeping-in as a nap.  Eventually, once we reach the age of about 30 or so, adults wise up and again recognize the value and fun of the simple act of taking a nap.  Dad always demonstrated the art of nap taking when we were kids, but he blamed it on the chair!  [There might be more truth to his musings than we realized back then—see The Great Menace by Year-Struck.]

Since 1999, there has even been a National Nap Day!  It is the Monday after changing the clocks for Daylight Saving Time. [Don’t get me started on losng an hour of sleep again!]  This holiday was proposed by Dr. William Anthony when he was a professor at Boston University and founding partner of The Napping Company.  According to Anthony, “Our goal is to encourage folks to take a nap wherever they may be, at home, at the workplace or on vacation, and to make it a regular part of their healthy lifestyle.” Research clarifies the benefits of taking a nap:

  1. Boosts Alertness
  2. Increases Learning and Memory
  3. Improves Creativity
  4. Increases Productivity
  5. Lifts the Napper’s Spirits
  6. Reduces Stress

dogs nappingWith so many good reasons for taking a nap, wouldn’t it make sense to practice this activity every day? Heck, animals make it look so easy.  Overall, it seems more a natural behavior than a learned activity. Even though few businesses encouragecat napping napping as part of the work day, creative employees can make effective use of lunch breaks and lulls between meetings for grabbing a quick nap. Whether at work, at home, or on vacation, Harvard Health Letter (November 2009) offers a few tips on how to take the best nap ever.

  1. Keep it short:  About 30 to 40 minutes is ideal, but even as short as 10 or so can help.
  2. Find a dark, quiet, cool place:  Any location works, but these three traits are conducive to falling asleep.
  3. Plan on it:  Of course, we all just doze off at times, but if nap time is part of a regular routine, it will be a more efficient use of time.
  4. Time your caffeine:  It is best to coordinate rests with the boost in energy provided by typical pick-me-ups like coffee or chocolate.
  5. Don’t feel guilty:  Remember naps are linked to increased productivity and creativity.

Given the obvious importance of naps if one wants to stay alert, creative, and productive, I think I will add “Improving My Napping Techniques” to my ongoing to-do list.  How about you?  Do you regularly nap?  What advice can you give?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.  Carrie Snow

 There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.  Edward Lucas

 I count it as a certainty that in paradise, everyone naps.  Tom Hodgkinson

 A day without a nap is like a cupcake without frosting.  Terri Guillemets

 Naps are nature’s way of reminding you that life is nice – like a beautiful, softly swinging hammock strung between birth and infinity.  Peggy Noonan

 Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.    Barbara Jordan

Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list.  Denis Leary

 I catnap now and then, but I think while I nap, so it’s not a waste of time.    Martha Stewart

Comments on: "Topic N: Time for a NAP" (8)

  1. In general, I’m not a nap guy, but there are times when they are necessary. One thing for sure, cats have perfected naps!

  2. Oh I love naps. Always have. The alarm on the cell phone was the best invention! I often think that countries with Siesta time have it right.

  3. It’s amazing how a 10-15 minute nap can completely re-energize you.

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